Dutch firms not seeking longer working week

22nd July 2004, Comments 0 comments

22 July 2004, AMSTERDAM — Dutch multinationals do not consider it a priority to extend the working week, despite increasing pressure in Germany and France for workers to adopt a 40-hour week.

22 July 2004

AMSTERDAM — Dutch multinationals do not consider it a priority to extend the working week, despite increasing pressure in Germany and France for workers to adopt a 40-hour week.

The pressure to increase productivity is not yet strong enough to put a question mark over Holland's ATV days, newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad said Thursday.

Many people in the Netherlands work 40-hours a week even though on paper they are supposed to work a 36 or 38-hour week. An extra free day's holiday a month, an ATV day, redresses the balance.

The paper based its assertion on the results of inquiries made with major Dutch firms Unilever, Philips and Akzo Nobel.

The firms said that a longer working week was not part of the current negotiations with unions. The concentration at the moment was on zero percent pay rises and pension.

Office supply company, Smead International, was to become the first Dutch-based firm to move to a 40-hour week. But on Wednesday, the company announced it was not going ahead with its plans.

Dutch employers association VNO-NCW told Het Financieele Dagblad that the Netherlands would probably move to a 40-hour week eventually, but this was something to be decided in "the coming years".

Only companies in acute financial difficulties would consider moving to a longer working week in the short term, VNO-NCW's Jan Willem van den Braak said.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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