Employment summit ‘a success’

Ministers, employers and unions yesterday reached broad agreement on helping 200,000 long-term unemployed people find jobs. The target was set down in the coalition accord earlier this year.

Speaking after the meeting, prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende said it is important for economic and social cohesion that as many people as possible participate in the economy.
Local authorities can put funds into creating subsidised jobs and unions and employers can include job creation schemes in pay negotiations, he said. The government will also put money into helping people find jobs. The Volkskrant reports that the government has set aside €1.2bn to stimulate employment.
The controversial issue of redundancy law was not discussed in great detail because of divisions between unions and employers. However, Balkenende said the government would now focus on reforms.
A proposal to limit golden handshakes to a year’s salary with a maximum of €75,000 for the under-40s, was only agreed on in cabinet after lengthy discussions, the prime minister said.
Bernard Wientjes, chairman of employers’ organisation VNO-NCW, said he continued to hope for redundancy law reforms which he feels need to be modernised because of their cost and inflexibility.

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