Some home helps in Rotterdam are to be replaced by welfare benefit claimants doing ‘voluntary work’, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.
Rotterdam city council is to require people considered to be hard to place to do compulsory volunteer work, the paper says, and this will include doing shopping and ironing for the housebound.
Ultimately, 10% of the work traditionally done by paid home helps should be done by welfare claimants, the council says. The council is responsible for home help services and is planning a major reorganisation this year following a government budget cut.
Although council official Marco Florijn told the paper the scheme is not supposed to replace paid jobs, unions are worried.
‘The council is going to use welfare claimants as free labour to replace paid jobs,’ FNV official Wim van der Hoorn told the paper. ‘This is a loss of employment.’
Further cuts are expected in 2014 when home help services will be reduced still further as part of government policy.