Election: FNV trade union threatens action over pensions, redundancy

The FNV trade union federation is threatening to take industrial action unless the caretaker cabinet abandons plans to introduce four controversial measures to cut the budget deficit.

The FNV’s chairman Ton Heerts has written to prime minister Mark Rutte saying the four austerity measures, agreed by a five-party coalition in the spring, should be taken out of the government’s 2013 spending plans.
The union is against plans to raise the retirement age, make it easier and cheaper to sack staff, scrap tax breaks on travel expenses and freeze civil service pay.
The austerity package forms the basis of the outgoing cabinet’s spending plans which will be formally presented on September 18, just one week after the general election.
Because it takes time to form governments in the highly fractured Dutch political party landscape, the outgoing administration continues to operate in a caretaker function, and that includes drawing up the annual budget.
The FNV says it wants the measures to be cancelled by September 17 or industrial action will follow. The letter must be seen as the FNV’s position ahead of the cabinet formation talks, political pundits say.
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