Employers want East Europeans admitted
26 March 2007, AMSTERDAM - Chairman of employers' organisation VNO-NCW Bernard Wientjes is annoyed that the four large cities are urging Parliament not to fully open the borders to workers from Eastern Europe yet.
26 March 2007
AMSTERDAM - Chairman of employers' organisation VNO-NCW Bernard Wientjes is annoyed that the four large cities are urging Parliament not to fully open the borders to workers from Eastern Europe yet.
In a video message on the VNO-NCW website Wientjes says: "We have been working on opening the borders for three years now. In light of the increasing pressure on the labour market these people are very welcome, they can start tomorrow."
In their letter of 13 March, the cities of Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht urge that the current system of work permits remain in place for the ten countries that joined the EU in 2004. The requirements for such a permit (which is granted to the employer) is that the worker has "suitable housing," the cities say this cannot yet be guaranteed.
Wientjes thinks the cities are coming far too late with their objections.
It was announced three years ago that the borders would be opened at some point. They could have made the necessary preparations. "Besides, the problem of housing is entirely unrelated to the arrival of Polish workers. Italians could come tomorrow, people could come from Spain, from all the other countries of the European Union, and these people have the right to work here."
"Of course we must ensure there is housing available for the people that we need here. That is completely unrelated to opening the borders. If there isn't enough housing, it must be built."
The chairman of the VNO-NCW says the campaign from the four large cities is a political manoeuvre. "The cities want to draw attention to their problems with old neighbourhoods and expect this topic can be put on the agenda by linking it with admitting Polish workers."
Wientjes says he hopes Parliament will see through this action and that the borders will really be opened up as soon as possible.
"Freedom of labour is one of the important building blocks of the EU." Solid agreements have been made with the trade unions to ensure fair pay for workers from Eastern Europe, so the municipalities should not be trying to stop the process at the eleventh hour.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]
Subject: Dutch news