Efforts in the Netherlands to limit the salaries of public sector bosses appear to be stalling, following the publication of new figures showing a 20% increase in high earners between 2010 and 2011.
In total, 2,651 public sector staff earned more than the official limit of €193,000 a year in 2011, the new home affairs ministry figures show. Healthcare staff accounted for 80% of the total big earners while housing corporation bosses, television presenters, police chiefs and air traffic control executives also feature high on the list.
The 20% increase in the number of high earners is ‘far too big,’ said home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk.
‘We thought by making the list public, top earners would take a step back because they were embarrassed,’ Plasterk told Nos television. ‘But that does not seem to be the case… they seem to be saying ‘I want to earn that as well’. ‘
Despite the rise in the number of high earners, their average salary fell from €234,191 to €218,783, showing that efforts to keep pay under control are having some effect when new officials are appointed.
The biggest earner was Erik Staal, head of housing corporation Vestia which had to be bailed out after losing billions of euros on its investments. Staal’s 2011 salary package totalled €1.2m.
A number of television presenters also break the limit. Top earner is thought to be Matthijs van Nieuwkerk who earned €493,420 euro.
In November, parliament passed new legislation which will eventually reduce all public sector salaries to below that of the the new maximum – 130% of a minister’s salary – or €228,599 including pension and expenses. However, the transition period is likely to take nine years, the Volkskrant said.
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