Unions to focus on trend towards flexible contracts in 2011

The FNV and CNV trade union federations are to focus on workers with flexible and short-term contracts in 2011, both union leaders said at New Year receptions on Monday.

The trend towards employing staff on flexible contracts is ‘undesirable’, CNV leader Jaap Smit is quoted as saying by the Financieele Dagblad. Nevertheless, working patterns are changing and labour market reforms are needed, he said.
‘We must ask ourselves how we can put healthy limits on these developments,’ he said.
According to research by the FNV, six out of 10 workers on such contracts are not working as call-out or short-term staff by choice.
The FNV wants the government to make sure workers on flexible contracts have better rights, including more access to social security benefits. It also wants action against companies which sack staff, only to re-employ the same people as cheaper freelancers.
For example, staff on permanent contracts in the home nursing sector have largely been replaced by cheaper freelancers who have to organise their own sick pay and pensions. The same trend is taking place in the postal delivery sector.
A spokesman for employers’ organisations VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland told news agency ANP ‘unemployment levels in our country would not have survived as well’ without flexible contracts.
‘Rigid’ redundancy laws, defended by the unions, are also to blame for the increase in short-term contracts, the organisations said.

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