Expatica news

Minister: 2 million ‘hopeless workers’ by 2020

22 September 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands will have an army of 2 million “hopeless workers” by 2020 due to the disappearance of jobs for the lower educated, Social Affairs Minister Aart Jan de Geus has predicted.

He said the situation was “almost inescapable” if nothing is done to rectify the situation. “I’m wrestling with this and have no solution yet. But we must look seriously at the problem,” the minister told newspaper Trouw on Wednesday.

The workforce will number 7 million by 2020 and the 2 million without a prospect of a good living will include drop outs, the long term jobless and many people who do not speak Dutch well.

De Geus said these people would include workers who do yet realise they are in danger of becoming ‘hopeless’ because they presently have a job. But as soon as they become unemployed, they will have insufficient education to secure another job.

The minister said the disappearance of jobs for the low educated continues unabated and that the government, business sector and unions must give the highest priority to investing in human capital to give these people a chance of a job.

But De Geus rejected a proposal from the Council of State — the government’s highest advisory body — to reduce the minimum wage. He is also opposed to subsidised jobs and lowering benefits to stimulate people to return to work.

He suggested that workers older than 50 agree on a certain wage with employers in exchange for job certainty to prevent them losing their jobs towards the end of their career. The last-in-first out system should be scrapped, giving outsiders a better chance of a job.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news