Young Dutch who hold holiday jobs easily exploited
Latest survey results on young workers’ job experiences are worrying as half polled said they have no breaks and work long hours.13 August 2008
THE NETHERLANDS - Every year, more than 500,000 young Dutch people take a holiday job.
And every year for the last seven years, the independent youth trade union CNV Youth has conducted its own online survey of their work experiences. The results from the latest survey are out and the news about young workers' experiences is not comforting.
Half the 2,300 individuals surveyed said they signed no contract and never saw a pay slip.
They rarely had time to take a break and the hours they worked often exceeded the legal norms. Information about their rights in the workplace was less than forthcoming: 40 percent of them said they didn't know whether they were permitted by law to work in the evenings.
The worst treated appear to be under 16s. Every year, 100,000 of them go looking for summer work. The survey revealed that they're often underpaid, work too many hours in the weekend and, at times, are ordered to do dangerous work without adequate training.
One third of holiday workers between 13 and 16 work far more hours than the law allows and also often work on Sundays, something expressly forbidden by child labour laws.
"It's alarming!" says Klaas Pieter Derks, the chairman of CNV Youth.
"Young holiday workers are being treated more and more like the adult working population."
Derks goes on to point out the flaw in working without payslips or contracts.
"Some young people believe that working this way will earn them more money because they don't have to pay insurance premiums or tax. But that's not so. What working that way really means is that many of them end up losing holiday pay and accruing paid holiday hours. And, of course, they have a much weaker negotiating position if they want to do anything about it."
What CNV Youth would like to see is more employers informing young workers of their rights before they employ them. That said, it's also urging the holiday workers themselves to familiarise themselves with, and assert, their rights.
"15-year-olds are usually inexperienced and know little about the world. That makes them easy prey for employers who deliberately abuse the child labour laws."
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]