‘Minister making use of recession’ say union leaders

Social affairs minister Piet Hein Donner is making use of the economic crisis to push through his own reform agenda and damage the position of workers, according to the leaders of five trade unions in a letter published in Monday’s Volkskrant.

The union leaders accuse Donner of being ‘an untrustworthy partner’ who is ‘mainly at the service of employers’.
One of the moves that angers the union leaders is a decision by Donner to make it easier to sack workers who are not ‘irreplaceable’. According to the unions, this means that as from August, the dismissal of employees will become much more arbitrary.
Another bone of contention is Donner’s decision to allow companies to renew temporary contracts for young people under 27 four rather than three times before they have to offer permanent employment.
All these small changes represent a considerable deterioration in the protection of workers’ social rights, say the union leaders.
But the minister has dismissed the criticism saying all the measures he has taken were in consultation with unions and employers or on the request of parliament, reports the Volkskrant. ‘The wish of parliament goes above that of the unions,’ the paper quotes him as saying.
The letter to the Volkskrant was signed by Henk van der Kolk, chairman of the FNV union for the manufacturing sector and John Kerstens head of the CNV construction workers union, and the leaders of three other unions.

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