Ministers set to urge wage moderation

Ministers are set to urge workers to moderate their pay demands next year in return for delaying an increase in value-added tax and for cuts in unemployment premiums, various newspapers report on Friday.

With talks on next year’s budget coming to a close, the cabinet is set to agree that value-added tax (btw) will not rise from 19% to 20% next year because of the likely effect on the economy, the AD reports.
Sources in The Hague tell that paper a final decision has not yet been taken. But everyone expects ministers to find alternative ways of raising the €1.5bn that the increase would have generated for the treasury.
A planned cut in unemployment benefit (ww) premiums – which the tax increase was to have funded – will still go ahead, the paper says.
Union warning
The country’s biggest trade union federation, the FNV, welcomed news that the tax rise is likely to be ditched, but said it would not consider parring down its wage claims in response. ‘The wage demand has nothing to do with it,’ a spokesman told news agency ANP.
The unions traditionally publish their recommended wage rise just before the September budget . Last week they said that inflation will be the determining factor. The CPB expects inflation to hit 3.8% next year.

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