Trade unions have reacted furiously to suggestions that they have agreed to moderate their pay claims next year in return for the cabinet’s decision not to make it easier to sack people.
The new deal, leaked by the media on Tuesday, includes a €75,000 ceiling on golden handshakes which means people on higher salaries will only get one year’s salary if they lose their jobs. At present workers are entitled to roughly one month’s salary for every year of employment.
The country’s two biggest trade union groups, the FNV and CNV, have issued statements saying that it is up to their members to determine wage levels for next year. Like the FNV, the CNV is not prepared to agree to limit wage claims to 3.5%, saying this is a matter for its members.
‘They have proved over the years that they are responsible. We don’t need pressure from the cabinet or from behind-the-scene discussions,’ says CNV chairman Rene Paas.
But while the FNV has agreed to the ceiling on redundancy payments for those on high salaries, the CNV and white-collar union federation MHP categorically reject the deal between the cabinet, employers organisation VNO-NCW and the FNV.
‘Workers are not better off with this deal… however you present it, this changes the rights of those who are made redundant,’ says the CNV. The MHP warns that the €75,000 ceiling on redundancy payments could affect almost a million workers with long years of service. ‘You can’t just put them out with the rubbish,’ MHP chairman Richard Steenborg is quoted as saying by ANP.
Political reactions to the alleged deal have been mixed. The opposition Liberal VVD party has described the €75,000 ceiling on golden handshakes a ‘total fiasco’.
He says employers will still be faced with lengthy and costly procedures. The party demanded that Donner appear in parliament on Tuesday afternoon to answer questions.
However the biggest opposition party, the Socialists, say it is happy that changes to redundancy payments are only to be introduced for those on high incomes.
The issue of redundancy payments and top salaries is one of the most long-running and acrimonious disputes between the government, trade unions and employers
To read about the government’s plans, click here
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