Fewer and fewer Walloons go to work in Flanders: “For some reason that escapes us, they don’t want to come”
Walloon workers are going to work less and less in Flanders. In 2008, 68,644 Walloons worked in the north of the country, while there were “only” 56,092 in 2019.
This situation poses some problems, especially… in Flanders where companies are looking for new employees. “We are 400 people in total and we have 180 French people who come to work with us every day. They cross the border to come and work with us“, notes Michel Soubry, the managing director of the company which bears his name. “Everything in the company is bilingual, you don’t have to know how to speak Dutch to work with us. There have been collaborations with Forem to find Walloon workers, but for some reason they don’t want to come to us.“, he is still surprised.
“We need staff. Unfortunately, we cannot find on the Walloon side and we would like to find a solution.”
To defend the Walloon point of view, the deputy Thomas Dermigne begins by calming certain Flemish populist beliefs. “Four times more Walloons than French people work in Flanders. If it was a question of unemployment, why is the rate the same, if not higher, in the north of France (in the border region where French workers come from).”
So yes, Walloons go to work in Flanders, but yes, more of them must cross the linguistic border to find work. “I think we have an opportunity, which is to have one of the most dynamic regions in Europe, Flanders, close to home and we have to promote exchanges, but not say that the Walloons are lazy. Do not castigate, there are politicians who make their money on it.”
“You’re ost welcome. Cultural differences are a good thing for companies“, still assures the head of the Soubry company.
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