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While various sectors in Belgium are cheering the recent expansion of flexi-jobs in the 2024 federal budget, emotions in the taxi industry are boiling over with frustration.

With the recent expansion of flexi-jobs to twelve new sectors, there is both satisfaction and dissatisfaction within various sectors. While sectors such as the food industry and bus and coach transport are happy with this new option, the taxi industry feels left out and there is anger about their exclusion from this scheme.

Aurélie Gerth, spokesperson for Fevia, the federation of food companies, emphasizes how important it is for her sector to be able to respond flexibly to highly fluctuating supply and demand. According to Fevia, there is a continuing shortage of personnel in the food sector, where there are on average approximately 1.500 vacancies. Although it is a step in the right direction, Fevia would like to see flexi-jobs available for the entire food sector in the future.

The Federation of Belgian Bus and Coach Entrepreneurs (FBAA) is also delighted with the introduction of flexi-jobs. According to the federation, this is an effective way to tackle the chronic shortage of drivers in public and specialized school transport. Just like in the food sector, there are also more than 1.500 driver vacancies here. FBAA CEO Pieter Van Bastelaere points out that part-time bus drivers will now be less inclined to go to sectors where flexi-jobs are also allowed.

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The new scheme opens the doors to temporary and flexible employment contracts in twelve additional sectors, but taxi drivers wonder why they remain on the sidelines.

Movers and the events sector share this enthusiasm. Koen Vangoitsenhoven, director of the Belgian Chamber of Movers, explains that the possibility of flexi-jobs will help to bring back experienced, recently retired employees, who can in turn train the younger generation. There is also relief in the events sector, as the federal government is meeting a real need, according to Stijn Snaet, director of the Event Confederation.

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On the other side is the taxi industry, which feels unfairly treated by not being included in the expansion. Pierre Steenberghen, secretary general of the National Grouping of Taxi Companies (GTL), calls the exclusion a “real catastrophe” for the sector. The sentiment within the taxi industry is one of incomprehension and frustration, as they face similar challenges to other sectors that are included in the scheme.

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