Minimum wage rise may be stopped in the senate: Telegraaf

The senate

Plans to increase the minimum wage and state pension may not pass in the senate because the pro-countryside BBB, which is the biggest party in the upper house, is likely to vote against it, the Telegraaf reported on Wednesday afternoon.

Senators will debate the issue next week. The aim is to boost the minimum wage by an additional 1.2% from July, which will automatically increase the state pension and social security benefits by the same amount.

The legislation, which will cost some €800 million a year, was voted through in the lower house of parliament last month, but its supporters there cannot count on a majority in the senate.

The BBB, VVD and CDA could all help the legislation to a majority but the VVD is strongly opposed, the Telegraaf said. The liberals argue that the automatic link between the minimum wage and benefits does not encourage people to work and is also a major issue for industry

CDA senator Janny Bakker-Klein told the paper that it looks as if her party will vote against the plan because of the impact on small firms in particular. The BBB has not yet taken a public stand but, the Telegraaf says, is likely to side with the VVD, given the two parties are involved in the ongoing coalition talks.

This week, the BBB and VVD voted against the immediate closure of the Groningen gas fields, calling instead for more guarantees on energy security.

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