Closer rapprochement between government and opposition on support packages

There is some rapprochement between the cabinet and the opposition on the conditions that companies and workers must meet if they are to receive new financial coronas from the government. Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will discuss the new support package, which is due to take effect on 1 October. The Cabinet needs the consent of part of the opposition if it wants to gain a majority in both Houses.

Members of the Cabinet will discuss the package with employers and employees and with MPs. Today there was consultation with the opposition parties PvdA and GroenLinks, among others. The participants in todays meetings were all more or less optimistic about the progress of the discussions.

Workgroup guarantee

In the case of the PvdA, the consultations focused on the employment guarantee requested by the Lower House under the leadership of PvdA leader Asscher last week. The PvdA wants companies that call on financial coronas support from the government to be responsible for ensuring that employees can continue to work, possibly at another company. Prime Minister Rutte said last week that he was thinking more about a best efforts obligation for those companies, but that the Cabinet is still going to talk about it.

Asscher today, following a meeting with Minister Koolmees, called the employment guarantee an essential condition for his party to agree to the package: “Employees must not be left to their own devices. If there is ever a time to settle this, it is now

Koolmees expressed his understanding for the idea of the PvdA. He, too, wants to help workers who lose their jobs as much as possible without being dependent on benefits. But how exactly he wants to do that is not yet entirely clear. Even before tomorrows debate, Koolmees wants to come up with a good proposal.

Asscher also said, following the consultation with Mr Koolmees, that, as far as he was concerned, the dismissal penalty for companies that are supported should continue to exist. He also wants something to be done for people who are retired and want to stop working sooner.

Improving the position of young people

The consultations between the Cabinet and GroenLinks focused mainly on young people and flex workers. GroenLinks-leader Klaver believes that the position of young people should be improved. He believes that they are now being treated unfairly: for example, for people aged 27 and over there is no waiting period to qualify for assistance and young people have to wait four weeks.

What is more, young people should not be allowed to earn extra money while they are on welfare. “Young people are paying the price for this economic crisis and we need to take an extra step to make it better for them,” said Klaver.

Koolmees said he also takes the wishes of the Green Left seriously. “We are looking at what is technically possible and feasible and what we can achieve