Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher has denied calling for pay rises to boost spending power and the economy, as reported by the Financieele Dagblad on Friday.
The paper says Asscher made the comments in a newspaper interview.
‘It is not up to me to formulate wage demands, but it would help if the Dutch had more spending power,’ the Financieele Dagblad quotes him as saying. ‘And that can be done via wage developments.’
Stressing he did not want to interfere in ongoing pay talks, Asscher said: ‘We know that more spending power comes either from higher wages or from economic growth. It cannot just come from The Hague [the government].’
However, a spokesman for Asscher later told Nos television the minister had not made the comments attributed to him.
‘Asscher said that wage moderation sometimes has disadvantages, but that is all he said,’ the spokesman stated. In addition, the minister does not consider it to be his role to formulate wage demands.
The current coalition agreement includes a freeze on civil service pay.
The ministry has called on the newspaper to print a correction.