Sharp rise in part-time jobless benefit plans

The number of companies which want to put staff on part-time unemployment benefits is increasing sharply, union officials say in Monday’s NRC.

At the end of last week 24 covenants on part-time benefit had been agreed between companies and unions but by Monday this had almost doubled, union chiefs told the paper. ‘The pace has gone up over the past few days,’ José Kager of the FNV-affiliated union Bondgenoten said.
Rough estimates show some 10,000 workers will be partly on benefits over the coming months, the paper says.
Car maker Daf has asked for part-time benefits for 4,500 staff, as has Scania (1,100 workers). Industrial group VDL has also signed a deal which still has to be approved by members. That agreement does not commit the company to top up benefits to the same level as pay.
Earlier, the Financieele Dagblad reported that Philips plans to introduce part time benefit for up to 600 workers at its Eindhoven, Middelburg and Uden lighting operations and car maker Nedcar is also in talks with unions on short-time working.
The government introduced part-time unemployment benefit earlier this year as a stop gap to allow companies to ease the cost of the recession. Companies can now reduce the amount of hours staff work by up to 50% and workers can claim benefits to make up the difference.

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