31/01/23

New Royal Decree for Belgian Port Labor Regulations Adopted in 2023

by Pol Deketelaere
The rules for Belgian port labor have been adjusted following the invalidation of the "Peeters amendment" by the Council of State in October 2022. This was after the ruling of the European Court of Justice that determined that the Belgian system was in violation of European law. A new Royal Decree has been issued to address the unlawfulness. The main changes are the responsibilities for recognizing port workers, the requirements for members of the administrative committee, the application procedure, decisions on the pool of recognized port workers, and obligations for non-pool recognized port workers.


Leeward

On October 26, 2022, the Council of State destroyed the 'Peeters amendment' to the Major law, the basic law regulating port labor since 1972.

This came after the European Court of Justice ruled in February 2021 that the determining role of the paritarily composed committee of employers and employees was in violation of European law. This ruling meant that the Belgian system was in blatant unlawfulness and that no sanctions could be taken against companies that acted otherwise.

In response to the destructive ruling of the Council of State, a new Royal Decree (RD) was issued on December 21, 2022 to rectify this unlawfulness. Here is a list of the most important changes:

  • Decisions on recognition, suspension, and revocation of recognition of port workers are now taken by officials of the FPS Employment of Employment, Labor and Social Dialogue in each port area. The administrative committee (within the paritary sub-committees of the relevant port area) will no longer act as a decision-making body, but will be consulted.
  • The requirements for members of the administrative committee have been adjusted. Expertise in port labor is now expected of each member.
  • The procedure for application and appeal procedure has been detailed. Applications for recognition must be submitted to the FPS Employment via a special form. The minister may further elaborate the application procedure in a ministerial decision.
  • The decision to include port workers in the pool of recognized port workers is made based on the need for labor. This is determined on the basis of economic forecasts for port traffic and labor market demographics by officials of the FPS Employment of Employment.
  • Port workers who are not included in the pool must have a written employment contract according to the 1978 Employment Contracts Act. Recognition automatically ends after 13 consecutive weeks without port work under a written employment contract, but this term can be extended.

The RD came into effect on January 6, 2023.

If you have any questions or comments about this, feel free to contact us at info@leeward.be.

Leeward

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