Expats ‘beneficial for construction industry’
26 August 2004
AMSTERDAM — An increase in the number of self-employed foreign workers will stimulate the Dutch domestic construction industry and offer lower prices to consumers, a building union claimed on Thursday.
Trade union AVBB said the entry of foreign workers and companies into the Dutch market was “inescapable”. It urged the construction industry to anticipate rising competition.
In a press statement on its website, the AVBB warned companies to prepare for changes within the industry, such as communication problems between workers.
Communication problems could lead to quality concerns or place safety at risk. A worker who does not understand or understands a warning too late could endanger him or herself and/or other workers, the union said.
Furthermore, the employment of foreign workers could be an attractive option for companies and contracting authorities because such workers are often highly motivated and specialist trades people.
The temporary recruitment of foreign workers could give construction companies the flexibility demanded by the building market.
The AVBB expects greater competition for Dutch companies from self-employed foreign nationals. Self-employed European Union nationals can easily work in the Netherlands once they have registered with the Chamber of Commerce (KvK).
They must also possess qualifications and a business plan but, in general, there are fewer restrictions imposed on them compared with normal employees.
But rising competition will not necessarily be negative, provided that there is not unfair competition. The AVBB said unfair competition would entail a situation in which Dutch law did not apply to foreign companies that employed workers in the Netherlands.
The AVBB also said fears following the May EU expansion that only cheap East European workers will be found on Dutch construction sites in the future was unfounded. But it also said the fact that these workers were cheaper should not be ignored.
Such workers might not only be cheaper due to lower wages, but because certain salary compensations are not applicable, such as travel costs. These workers can be housed closed to the construction site.
[Copyright Expatica News + Novum Nieuws 2004]
Subject: Dutch news