“I’m starting to get fed up”: Georges-Louis Bouchez, Pierre-Frédéric Nyst and Raoul Hedebauw disagree on how to raise salaries

The president of the MR, Georges-Louis Bouchez, returned this Wednesday in “QR the debate” on how to improve the purchasing power of citizens, and in particular of middle-income citizens. To the question “should we increase the gross salary or tackle taxes?”, the party president replied: “I come from a popular background and I learned one thing in the middle that the left tends to forget: the central value must be the value of work. But there are too few of us working in Belgium. We have 72% employment rate compared to 80% in Germany and the Netherlands.As a result, we are one of the OECD countries that tax the most and we have the highest deficit in the European Union apart from Malta. We are one of the five countries in which we work the least. What is needed is to increase the employment rate to lower taxation.

According to him again, indexing presents two problems. The first is that the catch-up allowed by the indexation of wages to the cost of living does not happen at the same time for everyone: “For some the indexing takes place every month, for others it is every quarter or every year. Those who have to wait until January 1 of next year will experience very difficult times. We should try to harmonize for more justice.”

The second problem concerns the indexation of average salaries. “Today the period is more complicated for the lowest median incomes, that is to say those who earn between 1800 and 2000 euros per month because we have concentrated a lot of support for people who receive social allowances or but we do nothing for people who earn €2,000 but who have to pay full price. Result: they are sometimes poorer than some social recipients at the end of the month. We must increase their net and for that we must increase the quota taxes by only charging taxes from €12,000 rather than €9,000.”

“I do not agree”, reacts Raoul Hedebauw, president of the PTB. “Salaries are the solution, not the problem. The real wage in Belgium has fallen by 2% over the past two years. Indexation therefore does not make it possible to compensate for the drop in purchasing power since fuel is notably not included in the indexation.

According to him, contrary to what Pierre-Frédéric Nyst, president of the UCM, claims, “Corporate profit margins have exploded. Listed companies made $21 billion in profits last year, that’s where money needs to go to help SMEs”.

“I’m starting to get fed up”protests in turn Pierre-Frédéric Nyst. “We always hear this sophism which is that the bosses of the Bel20 have increased their variable remuneration, among other things, that listed companies have made superb results but this is not the case for the majority of SMEs. We must stop making people believe that there is room for maneuver in all companies today. The two years of covid have been difficult.”

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