Cabinet firm on structural pay rise for nurses: there is no more money

A sign outside a nursing home in Amsterdam. Credit:

Ministers will not implement a structural pay rise for people working in healthcare because the uncertain economic situation does not allow it, health ministers Hugo de Jonge and Tamara van Ark have told MPs in a briefing.

MPs will today vote on a motion which would give nurses and support staff an extra pay increase as a reward for their hard work during the coronavirus crisis.

Efforts to force a vote on the issue last week collapsed because of parliamentary procedures, leading opposition MPs to accuse government supporters of walking out on the health service.

The ministers say in their briefing that the promised €1,000 net bonus will still go ahead, and that the details are still being worked out.

‘We greatly value the enormous and indispensable efforts which healthcare professionals have made during this period,’ the briefing states. However, the ministers say, with the economy set to shrink by at least 5% this year, the cabinet is faced with a mounting budget deficit and no room for extra pay.

In addition, the ministers say, healthcare sector pay has kept up to speed with market developments and ‘serious’ pay rises of 3% to 5% have already been agreed for the period 2020 to 2021. Moreover, pay rises are an issue for unions and employers, the ministers say.

MPs will debate healthcare worker pay on Wednesday afternoon.

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