A senior Labour party minister on Friday tore into the election manifesto published by coalition party VVD, describing it as ‘bizarre’ and ‘disastrous’ for the future of the country.
Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher, who has yet to announce whether or not he will challenge Diederik Samsom for the party leadership, made the comments after the weekly cabinet meeting, website Nu.nl reported.
The VVD’s plans are an ‘attack on the middle class,’ Asscher said. ‘The common man must feel betrayed,’ he said. ‘The VVD’s message to all workers in the Netherlands is that ‘you are on your own’,’ Asscher said.
The VVD and Labour party are partners in the current coalition government. The next election will take place in March 2017.
As well as promising tax cuts and tougher integration requirements for newcomers, the VVD wants to slash sick pay from two to one year and boost the use of flexible and temporary contracts. The party also wants to stop making collective pay deals binding across entire sectors.
The VVD plans, Asscher said, would force ‘every worker to negotiate his or her own salary’. This, the minister said, would lead to a ‘race to the bottom’.
The only people to profit from the VVD plans would be big companies which want to cut wage costs, the social affairs minister and deputy prime minister said.
Prime minister Mark Rutte declined to comment on Asscher’s criticism. ‘It is pretty tough talking from someone who can’t make up his mind about what to do next,’ Rutte said, referring to Asscher’s indecision over the party leadership.
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