New deal for Polish workers angers major unions
Deal brokered by trade union for Polish migrant workers seen as threat to Dutch labour.
THE HAGUE — The International Labour Intermediaries' Association has agreed to rules on separate pay and conditions for Polish temporary workers. The deal was made with the Internet Union, part of the small Dutch trades union, De Unie. About 6,000 Poles are members of the Internet Union.
The agreement deals with issues such as accomodation, repatriation during sickness, income and work guarantees. The workers can also use longer working weeks to allow them extended holidays back home in Poland.
The branch organisation for temporary workers ABU says that the guarantees mean thousands of Dutch temporary workers could loose their jobs to cheaper Polish, or other foreign workers. According to an Internet Union spokesperson, this isn’t the case.
Christian Democrat Eddy van Hijum (House of Representatives) warned against “unfair competition,” and Socialist Party representative Paul Ulenbelt spoke in terms of “discrimination of Dutch workers.” “It is absurd to accept a labour agreement that favors cheap labor from Eastern Europe over Dutch workers,” Ulenbelt said. Both parties are calling on Social Affairs Minister Piet Hein Donner “to put an end to” the labour agreement.
The major FNV trades union federation is furious about the new separate Polish deal. The union federation maintains that the deal undercuts pay agreements for temporary workers already clinched by the FNV.
Radio Netherlands/NRC Handelsblad/Expatica