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Netherlands – Trade unions want more permanent jobs, a 5% wage hike and the abolition of self-employed tax breaks

18 September 2019

Dutch trade union CNV announced its goals for 2020’s collective labour agreement and said it is aiming for more permanent jobs and less short-term and zero-hours contracts.

The union also targeted a 5% wage rise in 2020 and said, within three years, everyone should earn at least €14 per hour.

The Dutch government recently announced that collectively agreed wages will grow by 2.5% in 2019 and 2020.

“Everyone seems to agree: there is too much uncertain work and wages are lagging behind corporate profits,” FNV stated. It added that much of the economic growth has ended up with companies and shareholders rather than with employees and that the gap between poorly paid flexible work and well-paid jobs has widened.

“In the coming collective labor agreement year FNV will focus on more permanent jobs, a good salary increase of 5% with a minimum income of €14 euros in the long term,” it stated. “The trade union also focuses on agreements that ensure that workers can continue to do their job in good quality and healthily until their retirement.”

Meanwhile, Dutch trade union CNV announced that it wants the government to abolish the self-employed deduction.

The government announced this week that the tax break is being gradually reduced to €5,000.

“The deduction for self-employed people was once intended, among other things, to arrange pension accrual and disability insurance. However, most self-employed persons do not accrue pension and do not take out occupational disability insurance. This means that the self-employed deduction has missed its target for years, "said Arend van Wijngaarden, CNV chairman.

CNV stated that in addition, the deduction has for years led to “perverse incentives” adding that self-employed people compete with employees. 

“After all, they are a lot cheaper than employees, for which payroll tax and premiums have to be paid,” CNV stated. “This leads to companies where cheap freelancers have become a nice revenue model.”

CNV is also arguing for a minimum rate of €25 for self-employed instead of €16. The union says with a rate of at least €25, the self-employed can also take out a decent occupational disability insurance policy and build up a pension.

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