Pressure mounts for pay freeze

Pressure is mounting on trade unions to agree not to campaign for a pay rise this year, the Telegraaf reports on Tuesday.

Cabinet sources have told the paper that if unions agree to accept a pay freeze, the link between the average pay rise and increases in social security benefits will be maintained. Otherwise that link could be broken. At the moment, benefits rise in line with the average pay increase.
Ministers are even considering a cut in benefits, the sources said.
Social affairs minister Piet Hein Donner wants to reach a deal with unions and employers by mid March. In total, the social affairs ministry is facing an overspend of €3.8bn, the paper says.
Last week Donner called for the unions to show their solidarity with pensioners who are also facing a corporate pension freeze. A pay freeze would also keep inflation low and help Dutch industry’s international competitive position, he said.
Yesterday the Volkskrant published details from the list of suggestions senior civil servants have made for cutting government spending. These include linking the pension age to life expectancy, benefit cuts, an end to mortgage tax relief on homes valued at more than €1m and increases in student fees.

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