"Better information against exploitation of Poles"
Better information provision seems to be the most important means to prevent exploitation of Eastern European workers in the Netherlands for the time being.22 January 2008
THE HAGUE – Better information provision seems to be the most important means to prevent exploitation of Eastern European workers in the Netherlands for the time being.
Social Affairs Minister Piet Hein Donner spoke with a number of Poles in The Hague on Monday to get a better view on the situation in which they find themselves.
"I wanted for once to speak with rather than about Poles," Minister Donner said. In December he announced an investigation into a periodical inspection system for employment agencies who may be exploiting Polish workers.
He also promised that the Labour Inspectorate would carry out 800 extra inspections this year and 1,700 extra in 2009 for illegal labour and failure to comply with minimum wage requirements.
Workers are often paid minimum wage, but are required to work many more hours than is permitted by law. The hours worked are not checked by the inspectorate, the workers who met with Donner said.
Employers also reportedly take social security money and decent housing is not provided.
The labour inspectorate can do little to prevent this, since a contract is something between two parties. If one party feels the other is not following through on agreements, they can bring the matter to a district court.
But the Poles that met with Donner say this is a serious problem. Many Poles do not know how to approach the district court, let alone what to be careful of when they sign a contract with a Dutch employment agency. Most of the workers say there is not enough information available.
Minister Donner promised to be the first to look into this. The minister said there was no way to actually change legislation to benefit the Polish workers.
He does want to tackle the agencies using illegal practices. Information provision in Poland and the Netherlands must first be expanded however, so that the Poles know what to expect in the Netherlands.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2008]
Subject: Dutch news