Labour law expert and employee advocate dies at 83


Roger Blanpain, emeritus professor at KU Leuven, frequently raised his voice outside the academic world

Strong voice

Labour law expert Roger Blanpain, emeritus professor at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven), has died at the age of 83. As well as being an academic authority, Blanpain had a strong voice in social debates on topics such as employee rights.

Blanpain studied law at KU Leuven and obtained a master of arts at Columbia University in New York. He returned to KU Leuven where he became professor of labour law in 1967 and dean of the law faculty from 1984 to 1988. He lectured at universities in Germany, France, the US, Japan and the Netherlands.

Blanpain also raised his voice outside the academic world, often to defend the rights of employees. For many years he was an important advocate of the unified statute of white- and blue-collar workers, which was introduced in 2014.

He was a strong proponent of the ban on smoking in the catering sector and on the workfloor, and in recent years he championed measures to limit the accessibility of alcohol. He was involved in important debates in numerous sectors, including defending the rights of athletes on the transfer market and advocating for female priests in the Catholic church.

Blanpain was also active in politics from 1987 to 1989, as senator for the Volksunie, the party from which N-VA originates.

Photo courtesy KU Leuven