ABVV chairman on the seesaw after meeting with Bouchez


The chairman of the socialist union ABVV, Robert Vertenueil, has to survive a vote of confidence of his own union on Monday.

If Vertenueil does not get the confidence of the majority of all ABVV departments on Monday, he will be chairman. He threatens to pay a heavy price for a slightly too friendly meeting with MR chairman Georges-Louis Bouchez last Wednesday.

Liberal Bouchez was a guest on Wednesday at a debate at the headquarters of the ABVV in the Hoogstraat in Brussels. There, discussions were held about the need for a new social pact between employers, employees and the government. Vertenueil argued for such a new historical collaboration shortly after the outbreak of the corona crisis.

According to a number of FGTB directors, Verteneuil was very amicable with Bouchez.

Bouchez’s visit to the lion’s den was picked up by Le Soir. A number of ABVV directors choked on their coffee when they saw their chairman sitting brotherly at the table with Bouchez in that newspaper on Thursday. It also didn’t help that the duo unanimously advocated a “new social pact,” without going into further detail about what it should contain. Nevertheless, the tone between the two historical opposites was kind. “In a democratic context we have to talk: what should we do for the world of companies and what for the employees,” said Vertenueil.


A number of ABVV drivers found this far too amicable. Vertenueil tried to extinguish the fire on Thursday with a press release in which Bouchez was once again heralded as “the boot of the patronage”. “Everything for the companies and crumbs for the employees: no passarĂ¡n!” Added the criticized ABVV president.

However, that could not calm things down. Certainly in the left wing of the union, where the PTB is booming, it was buzzing with unrest. Vertenueil was under fire for hours at the weekly union board meeting last Friday. According to the RTBF, there is a vote of confidence among the various departments of the ABVV on Monday.

If Vertenueil does not get a majority there, he will be chairman. The crisis comes at a very inappropriate time for the French-speaking socialist union. Negotiations for a corona recovery plan and the formation of a new federal government are about to begin, a wave of redundancy is looming in companies, and unions are preparing for a campaign leading up to the November social elections .

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