Unions and employers get more time to reach reform deal: PM

Employers and unions have a few more weeks to try to reach agreement on their support for the budget plans, prime minister Mark Rutte said on Tuesday.

‘The cabinet is keeping its finger on the pulse,’ the prime minister said during questions in parliament. ‘But it is a precarious process.’

The original deadline had been April 1, but on Monday all sides in the talks said that is now unrealistic.

Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher has been leading the talks within the joint union and employer foundation Star since March 15 in the hope of creating broad support for the government’s ideas. It is hoped this will make it easier to implement the plans and head off opposition in parliament.

Clarity

‘The social partners (unions and employers) expect to give more clarity during April. The foundation is working hard on different themes,’ Asscher’s briefing said. One source told RTL news the situation is ‘complex’.

Both FNV leader Ton Heerts and Bernard Wientjes, head of the employers’ association VNO-NCW, have already said they do not see their job as propping up the government.

The cabinet is supposed to present its plans to reduce the budget deficit in 2014 to the European Commission by the end of next month, prompting the April 1 deadline for the unions and employers.


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