Jobless locals rarely do seasonal work (update)

Unemployed locals rarely take on seasonal work in agriculture and horticulture, Trouw reports on Saturday after questioning job centres and local councils.

Initial optimism about projects to get the unemployed back to work in the Dutch greenhouse industry have faded and ambitions have been scaled down, the paper says.

The findings come as social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher renews calls for efforts to tackle the impact of migrant workers from other EU countries, who are forcing Dutch people out of jobs.

The Netherlands is hosting a conference on labour movements within Europe in The Hague on Monday.

Few placements

Trouw spoke to social service officials in 14 local authorities in the main greenhouse, bulb field and asparagus-growing areas. All reported placing local job seekers sporadically.

No one can say how many jobs are filled but in Zundert, for example, an agreement with local growers was scrapped.

‘Companies want people who are better able to do the jobs than most of the unemployed,’ council official Wim van Trijp told Trouw. ‘The employed are too easy about giving up.’


The paper says the attitude of officials is notable, given that unemployment has now reached 8.7% and some 400,000 people are claiming social security benefits.

But most claimants find working in greenhouses ‘too heavy’ and are scared off by the red tape surrounding temporary jobs.

At the same time, employers would rather have people doing holiday jobs or foreigners to pick fruit and vegetables, the paper said.

The Telegraaf reported a year ago just five people had found a job under a Rotterdam council-sponsored scheme to encourage the local jobless to work in greenhouses.


Two VVD parliamentarians on Sunday called on local authorities to do more to make sure people claiming unemployment and welfare benefits take on seasonal jobs.

‘Councils appear to have given up on getting unwilling, long-term claimants out of their filing system and into work,’ MP Sjoerd Potters told Trouw. ‘Local authorities are given almost €2bn a year to help people in finding work. You can’t just say it can’t be done.’

Potters called on Asscher to make sure councils stopped people’s welfare benefits if they refused to take on seasonal work.

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