New union chief says freelancer tax breaks should be scrapped

New union chief says freelancer tax breaks should be scrapped

The new chairman of the FNV trade union federation, the biggest Dutch union grouping, has called on the next government to slash tax breaks for freelancers. The tax advantages and other benefits from freelancers are stimulating a race to the bottom in terms of wages, Han Busker told the Financieele Dagblad. Flexible forms of work have become too cheap because of the tax breaks and it is employers who ultimately benefit, Busker told the paper. Busker’s call comes at a sensitive time because the FNV is currently embroiled in difficult talks with employers organisation VNO-NCW on a joint programme to tackle on the job training, robotisation and freelancing. The aim is to come up with an agreement which could be incorporated into the next government’s plans.  More >

Flexible contracts don't lead to real jobs

New union chief says freelancer tax breaks should be scrapped Just two in five people with a flexible employment contract find a permanent job within five years, according to researchers at the University of Amsterdam. The researchers looked at people who were given a flexible contract in 2008 and found that around half of them moved on within a year, but only one in three progressed to a permanent job. After five years, 39% had found permanent employment and 46% were no longer working at all. 'So almost half the people who joined the flexible workforce experienced the change as a step towards unemployment,' professor Paul de Beer said in the report. Just over half the people with college or university degrees got a permanent contract within five years, compared with 28% of people with low skills. Some 40% of people in the Dutch labour market are on short-term or flexible contracts.  More >

Hudson's Bay comes to high street

Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay invades Dutch high street Canadian retailer Hudson's Bay is looking to employ 1,800 people sales staff for its new stores in the Netherlands. Friday saw the start of a large-scale recruitment drive, the AD writes. Hudson's Bay, which presents itself as one of the fastest growing retail companies in the world, will be opening up shop in Almere, Amsterdam, Breda, Den Bosch, The Hague, Leiden Maastricht, Rotterdam, Tilburg and Zwolle. The first batch of Hudson’s Bay workers will start an in-house training on July 1. The company will create some 2,500 store-based jobs and another 2,500 jobs connected with building activities. The full-on invasion of the Dutch retail landscape is an attempt to fill the gap left by the recent demise of V&D. In a number of towns Hudson’s Bay is even using the same premises as the former high street fixture. ‘The character and  atmosphere of the stores will be geared specifically towards the Dutch market,’ a Hudson’s Bay representative told the AD. ‘The stores will have the character of a startup and will become the store of the future, with well-known fashion, beauty and home ware brands.’ Hudson’s Bay, which has 500 stores worldwide, wants to open 20 stores in total in the Netherlands.  More >

Dutch MEP: stop cheap European workers

Dutch MEP leads charge to stop foreign workers undercutting locals A Labour MEP is campaigning to stop migrant workers from other countries undercutting local labourers, reports the AD. Agnes Jongerius, former chair of the FNV union and now a PvdA politician, told the paper she is hoping to win a majority in the European Parliament for a directive on ‘equal pay for equal work in the same place’ this summer. She told the AD. ‘Everyone knows the stories. Drivers who camp for months in their cabs, the most visible form of exploitation. Road layers in Maastricht who can only pay for an expensive bed in a dorm of six, plus commuting costs, with their low salaries. Or, strangely, a shipyard that sacks all of its staff only to take on a busload of Romanians a week later. Eastern European governments are beginning to see that this cannot go on any longer, certainly Estonia, which succeeds Malta as European president this summer.’ The directive will be voted on in June or July, and AD claims Jongerius her French fellow rapporteur Elisabeth Morin-Chartier have scheduled 501 amendments, including ensuring the laws of the host country prevail over foreign workers after 12 months instead of 24, limiting temporary ‘postings’ to six months, and instituting transparent fees and wages. She added that European countries reacted very differently to having new member states. ‘The Netherlands suggested work permits but Tony Blair immediately threw open the doors,’ she told the AD. ‘If he had not rolled out the red carpet across the Channel, there might have been no Brexit now. At the time, we did nothing to address this. As my mother said: if you stick your rubbish in a cupboard, you can’t see it. But if it stays there too long, it will still stink.’ Photo: via Wiki Commons, by Lex Draijer, Partij van de Arbeid   More >

40% work outside office hours

New union chief says freelancer tax breaks should be scrapped More than four out of every 10 workers in the Netherlands work regularly outside of normal office hours, according to research by national statistics office CBS. The CBS said roughly 3.6 million people (44% of the workforce) regularly work between 19.00 and 06.00 or at weekends while another 1.9 million do this occasionally. Together these groups account for nearly 5.5 million or 66% of the working population. Just over half of the work outside normal hours is done in the early evening or on Saturday.  Only about 33% work on Sunday, while one in seven work at night. People who work outside office hours say they miss family activities more often than those who work strictly between 09.00 and 17.00. Work in the evening is the biggest culprit, with 21% of those doing so regularly missing out on family events.   More >