Employment report rejected by unions

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Dutch trade unions and political left respond critically to proposals to tackle the problem of demographic change.

17 June 2008

THE NETHERLANDS - Dutch trade unions have responded critically to a report designed to tackle the problem of demographic change.

The report was commissioned after the cabinet disagreed on relaxing Dutch law that would make it easier for employers to dismiss staff.

The ministerial dispute surfaced during discussions on how to deal with the problem of a diminishing number of workers paying for an increasing number of pensioners.

The Bakker Commission report proposes gradually raising the retirement age to 67 and allowing employers to sack personnel after providing six months' training for a new job.

Unemployment benefit would be paid for a maximum of one year instead of the present 38 months.

The unions have come out broadly against the proposals although they welcome the report's plans for measures to help get an extra 200,000 people back to work in the short term.

The political left also rejects the plans, while right-of-centre parties are for the most part supportive. The conservative VVD says the proposals do not go far enough.

[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]

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