Top presenters may face limit in salaries

30th June 2008, Comments 0 comments

Dutch minister for culture wants to limit salaries of top presenters working for public broadcasting companies to no more than EUR 200,000 a year.

30 June 2008

THE NETHERLANDS - The Minister for Culture, Ronald Plasterk, wants to limit the salaries of top presenters working for public broadcasting companies. He believes they shouldn't earn more than EUR 200,000, a figure somewhat higher that the so-called "Balkenende norm" of EUR 180,000 a year.

The chairman of the Dutch Public Broadcasting association, Henk Hagoort, has said that this benchmark should apply only to the administrators of public broadcasting companies and not to their presenters.

If that were to happen, he said, they would be likely to move over to commercial broadcasters.

Plasterk said he didn't think it would come to that and that presenters should be able to do with a little less money.

The Balkenende norm arose from a cabinet decision to limit top salaries in the semi-public sector: in public broadcasting companies, universities and cultural institutions.

They were acting on the findings of a commission led by former leader of the Lower House, Hans Dijkstal.

In addition to suggesting that certain occupations should not earn more than the prime minister, the commission also proposed that a second group should set their own maximum salary, which would then have to be approved by the appropriate government minister.

A third group, including executives in public and regional transport, would be required to release details of their salaries.

The president of the Central Bank of the Netherlands, Nout Wellink, says the Balkenende norm is idiotic.

He sees nothing wrong in setting a benchmark for top public sector salaries, but using the prime minister's salary as the point of departure is not the right way to go about it. He pointed out that it's the only job for which there's no market. The prime minister can do a good job or a bad one, but his performance has no effect on his salary.

Wellink believes it would make more sense to start by deciding on the right salaries for high ranking personnel in public office, and afterwards set the salaries for the prime minister and cabinet ministers, at the top of the list.

[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]

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