In the province of Antwerp, only 35 people are employed as telephonists, while that would have to be 45 if the staff was fully implemented. In the past two years, only a handful of people could be recruited, despite the extra budgets provided by the FPS Home Affairs. The operational deficit in Brussels is even greater than in Antwerp. According to the ACV, this is a deficit of 40 percent.
“As a result, people calling sometimes have to wait minutes for their emergency call to be answered,” said Representative John Pollet. “In addition, due to understaffing, the workload for telephone operators is sky-high, as a result of which more and more employees are dropped out due to illness.”
The ACV is not sure why training as a telephone operator at the emergency center attracts little interest. “In Brussels it may be the required bilingualism, in Antwerp there is also work in the port for the requested profiles”, says Pollet. He requests a meeting with Minister Verlinden, “because the situation is untenable”. Pollet proposes an awareness campaign.