Sunday 22 May 2022

Minister criticises ING for trying to ditch temporary staff

Logo of the ING bank in Hoogeveen, NetherlandsCompanies are trying to get rid of their staffing agency workers in an effort to get around new rules on temporary staff which come into effect in July, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday.

In particular, internal emails and documents from officials within ING Nederland show the bailed-out bank is trying to stop temporary staff being given a permanent contract, the paper says.

The use of temporary staff who would be entitled to a permanent contract is ‘no longer desirable because of the legal risks attached’, one document quoted by the paper states.

In another, ING managers are urged to tell their temporary employers ‘with care’ about the end of their ‘period of work’.

Hundreds of people on temporary contracts are being affected, the paper says. A number of staffing agencies report similar experiences but are unwilling to go public. In the farming and food production sector, temporary staff are losing their jobs ‘by the bucket’, said Henry Stroek of the CNV trade union federation.

Scandalous

Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher, who is responsible for the new legislation, has criticised employers for trying to get around a law they agreed to in bilateral talks with the unions.

‘I am not aware of the ING document but if it is true, it is scandalous,’ he said. ‘What sort of morals does a bank have which defends pay rises for executives and at the same time wants to remove any security for vulnerable workers?’

ING has the opportunity to meet its obligations and show itself to be socially aware by ‘respecting all its workers and the letter and spirit of the law’, he said.

Rights

The new rules are aimed at reducing the legal differences between traditional and temporary staff and give temps more rights to severance pay and a permanent contract.

In particular, temps who have had three contracts in two years are entitled to a permanent job.

ING has cut 6,000 jobs since 2009 and now has 7,000 people on flexible contracts, about 25% of its total personnel, the Volkskrant says.

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