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Cleaners call one-day strike for better pay
Cleaners and housekeepers will down their vacuum cleaners and irons on Wednesday and walk out on strike for better pay.
About 160,000 people in Belgium are employed through the service cheques scheme (titres-services in French and diestencheques in Dutch).
They are calling for a 1.1% wage increase. Many household helpers are paid just €11 an hour before tax.
The FGTB trade union says the pay demands are "completely legitimate and justified". Attempts at mediation have so far come to nothing.
One cleaner in the Charleroi region, who has been doing the same job for 30 years, told RTBF: "I am tired, worn out, everything hurts from my back and knees to my elbows, wrists and fingers.
"Our bosses don't want to increase our pay. But what are we worth to them?"
The titres-services industry argues that its profit margins are too slim to be able to afford any increase. One in four households in Belgium relies on some form of home help using the service cheque system.