The national statistics office CBS said yesterday that there has been a ‘spectacular’ increase in the number of self-employed in the Netherlands – up 9% in the first quarter of the year.
The figures coincided with the news that thousands of home helps are being sacked and then re-employed as self-employed freelancers, without pension rights or sick pay.
This follows a recent decision to hand over responsibility for home help to local councils who have taken it on themselves to squeeze costs as much as they possibly can.
This is also exactly what is happening in the postal delivery sector now it is open to competition. Postal staff are being replaced by ‘self employed’ delivery workers who have no pension rights or sick pay and who have to sort the post in their own homes.
While ministers have been heard muttering that it’s ‘not right’ to sack people and take them on again as cheaper ‘freelancers’, they don’t seem to be very keen to stop the practice. After all, not employing anyone is a very easy way for companies to cut labour costs and increase efficiency not to mention boost their competitiveness with proper wage-paying businesses.
First postal workers, then home helps. How about teachers (no need to pay them to do nothing in the long holidays), nurses, bus drivers, shop workers and even civil servants? Job security, a company pension and sick pay – who needs them in the modern, competitive Netherlands?
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