Pay rises average 3.2%

Dutch wages rose by an average of 3.2% this year, well up on the 1.9% increase recorded in 2007, according to preliminary social affairs ministry figures.

The 3.2% increase is largely based on deals signed before the traditional October talks between unions, employers and ministers. At that meeting, the big union federations agreed to put a ceiling of 3.5% on wage claims.
The lowest rise was recorded for agriculture and fisheries workers (2.5%) while the services industry saw wages going up by an average of 3.7%, the social affairs ministry said.
Of the 115 pay and conditions agreements studied, nearly all included some provision on training and broadening staff skills, the ministry said. In 91 deals, there was an element of flexible or performance-related pay, mainly in the form of structural or one-off bonuses.
A main boost for this year’s pay deals has been inflation which reached a high of 3.2% in July and August. Inflation has since fallen to around 2.3% as oil prices fell.
The government’s macro-economic think tank CPB expects inflation to fall to 1.5% next year and says most households will see their spending power go up by an average of 1.75%.

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