The arrival of workers from central and eastern Europe has disadvantaged Dutch workers in some sectors, according to a new report compiled for the social affairs ministry, the Telegraaf said on Friday.
In particular, the construction, market gardening, food industry and road transport sectors have been hit, all low skilled jobs which do not require people to speak Dutch.
The research focuses on the period 2001 to 2011, when the proportion of foreigners in the Dutch labour force rose from 4.9% to 7.7%.
The problem is down to workers who are prepared to work for lower pay and employers who deliberately stretch the boundaries of what is permissible in law, the Telegraaf said.
The report, put together by the SEO economic research institute, says European rules make it possible for employers to cut costs by bringing in workers via foreign firms. This way they can often avoid paying social security and pension premiums.
In addition, the cross-border nature of the European employment market makes it more difficult to carry out proper checks to ensure companies and staffing agencies are not trying to get around the law.
However, the report shows that people who would have worked in greenhouses and in the transport sector have not been left jobless and many have found other work, often as self-employed.
Last year, Asscher published a controversial article in the Volkskrant in which he said the resettlement of so many people from eastern Europe in the west has had a ‘disruptive effect on some of our poorer and less well educated citizens’.
He called on Europe to take the negative aspects of the free movement of people seriously and to put them ‘high on the agenda’. He is also preparing legislation to tackle breaches of Dutch minimum pay rules.
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