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Overpaid, Belgian firefighters must reimburse thousands of euros

It is an error of the administration which will cost the firefighters of the rescue zone of Hainaut, in Belgium, very dearly. A hundred of them have just learned that they will have to repay an overpayment, report Le Figaro and The voice of the North. In early May, these firefighters received a letter from their superiors telling them that they had been overpaid for…seven years!

“You received 100% of the hour/gross instead of respectively 25% of the hour/gross for services performed between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekdays and 50% of the hour/gross for services performed on Saturdays”, specifies the missive received by a hundred firefighters. Between 2015 and 2021, certain firefighters working in the Hainaut rescue zone, bringing together around ten barracks, including those in Mons, Dour or Quiévrain, would have received up to 20,000 euros too much. Today, their hierarchy asks them to repay these sums in one go.

What provoke the anger of the main interested parties, who wonder how they will be able to return such sums. “We received phone calls from quite panicked firefighters (…) It’s scandalous, because they were summoned to an interview to settle the debt. In one go, which is against Belgian law. need an agreement to stagger the payments”, denounces Eric Labourdette, representative of the Free Trade Union of the Public Service (SLFP), quoted by La Voix du Nord.

A justified rumble according to the union representative, himself concerned by a debt of 11,641.92 euros. “You still have to remember that it is the fault of the employer, so reimbursing, everyone agrees to do it, but the challenge now is to know how much we will reimburse per month for how long”, he continues in the columns of Figaro.

In the absence of a response from the Hainaut rescue zone, the union’s law firm was commissioned, in vain. The Belgian Court of Auditors was therefore seized. “It’s not normal, I made this request in order to clarify the management of our public funds”, indicates Eric Labourdette. For the time being, the SLFP has invited all the firefighters concerned not to sign anything until no agreement has been reached.


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