Minister firm on redundancy reform

Social affairs minister Piet Hein Donner is to press ahead with the cabinet’s plans to reform redundancy laws, despite strong opposition from the coalition Labour party (PvdA).

Donner, a Christian Democrat, told MPs in a debate last night that the reforms were needed now in order to profit from economic growth.
Donner said the reforms would encourage employers to take on more vulnerable groups of workers – older people, long-term jobless and people with little training and education. The plan had the approval of the entire cabinet and was part of a package of measures to boost employment levels, Donner said.
During the debate, PvdA MP Mariëtte Hammer said her party had ‘major problems with the core’ of the proposals to simplify redundancy law. The PvdA could only support the plans if unions and employers were firmly behind them. Unions and employers are sharply divided on the reforms.
The third coalition party ChristenUnie also has its doubts about Donner’s plans, saying they make it too easy for employers to sack staff.
Donner’s proposals include putting a maximum on the amount which can be paid out as a golden handshake and reducing the role of the courts in approving redundancy requests.

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