Unions and employers fail to reach deal on Dutch labour market reforms

Photo: DutchNews.nl

Unions and employers have failed to reach agreement on changes to redundancy law and the pension system, dashing hopes that the new coalition government will have substantial reforms in the bag.

The three big unions and employers organisation VNO-NCW had hoped to reach a deal by last Friday but have now decided there is no point in holding further talks at the moment.

The unions had been hoping to use the talks to reach a common position with employers on boosting the use of permanent contracts.




Han Busker, chairman of the biggest trade union federation FNV, told reporters on Monday that had not been possible to reach a deal on making it more attractive for companies to take on permanent staff or to stop potential abuses.

CNV chairman Maurice Limmen said that given the good economic prospects, now had been the time to give people more job security and to stop the shift towards further use of flexible and short-term contracts.

Risks

Hans de Boer, chairman of the VNO-NCW, said he is extremely sorry the talks had failed. ‘Employers do not dare offer staff permanent contracts because of all the risks. We want an end to that situation,’ he said.

The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie had asked the unions and employers to try to reach a joint position on various labour market reforms. The failure of the talks means it will be more difficult for the next government to reach a deal on reforms which have both union and employer support.

Prime minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte said that the failure of the talks is ‘extremely disappointing’.