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Controversy over partial return to work in the construction sector

The construction sector occupies a prominent position in the Belgian economy representing, after Services and Trade, the third sector of the country in terms of jobs (280,000 workers). The annual added value generated by this sector represents 5.2% of national GDP, with turnover approaching 70 billion Euros over recent years.

Some directors of real estate companies are pleading now for a partial resumption of activities stopped because of the COVID-19 epidemic, but the vast majority of construction companies say that this is currently impossible. In Flanders, Prime Minister Jan Jambon has called on the construction sector to begin work again. Flemish associations Voka, Unizo and Bouwunie have made it known that they share the opinion of Flemish Minister Lydia Peeters, who is ready to launch new roadworks en masse.

Willemen CEO, Tom Willemen, wants to reopen 15 to 20 percent of yards next week, while introducing several measures to ensure that social distancing in these yards is respected. Willemen employs 1,300 construction workers and 1,000 other employees. In newspaper L'Echo, Gaëtan Hannecart, CEO of Matexi, recently also pleaded also for resumption – partial and in strict compliance with safety instructions. Read the report of de Tijd > https://bit.ly/3atxWOy Read also the report from L'echo > https://bit.ly/2UvkDHO

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