Ministers and banking unions on Friday were quick to criticise news that three big Dutch financial services firms have increased the basic pay of senior executives by up to 46%.
ING and insurance company NN said on Thursday they had put up executive pay by between 28% and 46%. State-owned ABN Amro said on Friday it had increased the pay of six senior staff by €100,000, or around 17%.
The sharp pay rises follow a decision by the government to slap a 20% ceiling on banking sector bonuses.
While acknowledging the banks had remained within the letter of the law, finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said the increases are ‘sending out the wrong signal’.
‘This is difficult to understand at a time when banks are still recovering, in which the sector is undergoing change and lots of jobs are being lost,’ Dijsselbloem told reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting.
Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher said the rises ‘stuck in his throat’.
Banking union De Unie described the ABN Amro increases as ‘incredibly greedy’.
‘Top bankers first treated us to a system crisis that cost €28bn in taxpayers money for ABN Amro alone,’ said chairman Reinier Castelein. ‘They shamelessly steal from us with excessive mortgage rates and still persist in their old ways of, me, myself and I.’
Castelein also criticised Dijsselbloem for his approach. ‘Dijsselbloem, the real boss of ABN Amro, is passively looking on,’ Castelein said.
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