BRUSSELS (AP) — More than 10,000 people protested through central Brussels on Tuesday to demand better working conditions and more pay in the care sector which have been especially hard-hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trade union activists and workers are demanding that more people be hired in hospitals and care homes for older people, and that pay scales would be increased considerably to make the sector more attractive for young professionals.

The government has acknowledged the problems, but has yet to come up with any convincing plan to turn the crisis in the sector around.

“We cannot wait until after the 2024 elections. Valuable years are going to waste,” said Mark Selleslach of the ACV Puls trade union.