Pressure rises over redundancy reform

MPs have given social affairs minister Piet Hein Donner (Christian Democrat) until next Tuesday to clarify his controversial plans to reform redundancy law.

Parliament is sharply divided over the plans, with coalition partners Labour and ChristenUnie siding with the left-wing opposition against what they say weakens worker protection.
Pressure is mounting on Donner to reach a compromise after Christian Democrat parliamentary leader Pieter van Geel said no progress has been made on the impasse. Van Geel told NOS tv that he had hoped that parliamentary leaders would have worked out a compromise during their recent visit to the Dutch Antilles.
Van Geel said that while he still supported Donner’s position in principle, it was ‘a political reality’ that the minister needed to revise his original plans.
Labour’s parliamentary leader Jacques Tichelaar welcomed Van Geel’s statement. ‘We will not accept any worsening of the position of ordinary workers,’ he told NOS. ‘The fact that Van Geel admits the current plan has to go is a bonus,’ he said.
Labour objects in particular to Donner’s wish to scrap the involvement of the courts in approving redundancy requests.
The minister’s plans also involve a sharp reduction in golden handshakes for high earners and employees who have been with the same company for long periods. Under the proposals, redundancy payments will be limited to one year’s salary with a maximum of €100,000 for older workers.

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