Finance minister Wouter Bos is to limit boardroom salary rises at state-owned firms such as Dutch Rail (NS) and Schiphol Airport to the same percentage as agreed for shop-floor workers.
Bos made the announcement during Wednesday evening’s parliamentary debate ongovernment finances. If necessary, the ministry will vote against proposals to allow senior staff salaries to rise above shop-floor level at shareholders’ meetings, Bos said.
‘The salary of a director must never go up more than that of the post-room worker,’ the minister told MPs.
The Dutch state is a shareholder in 33 companies, including bus firm Connexxion, weapons maker Thales, gas firm Gasunie and national power grid operator Tennet.
Bonuses on top of ordinary pay packages would be determined by ‘the public interest’, Bos said, adding that profit levels would not be a motive for extra payouts. ‘In terms of the NS, the number of passengers or delays could be all important,’ Bos was reported as saying in the Financieele Dagblad.
The Volkskrant reports that Bos is also interested in two ideas from Labour MPs to reduce excessive boardroom pay: a maximum limit on golden handshakes and measures to curb managers benefiting too much from takeovers or mergers.
No concrete plans will be made until December when a government commission is due to report on corporate governance initiatives, Bos said.
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