Trade unions and employers welcome extension of support package: ‘Good perspective

Trade unions and employers are pleased with the extension of the support packages agreed by the Cabinet today and call it a good basis for the coming months. Most of the schemes from the first two support packages will remain in place for the next nine months, but will be cut back and phased out.

In this way, employees and self-employed people in sectors where there is as yet no prospect of improvement should start thinking about retraining and working in another sector where things are going better.

Trade unions say that training courses and guidance from work to work must be used in a timely manner. There must also be room for improvements in the package of measures in the event of new circumstances, say employers’ organisations VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland.

Both the trade unions FNV and CNV and the employers’ organisations have made agreements with the government to arrive at the current support package.

Zzp’ers and youngsters

CNV chairman Piet Fortune calls the support package “a helping hand from the cabinet to get through the winter”. “The extra billion euros that is now available for training is our biggest gain. This offers a good perspective to large groups of workers who are now in danger of losing their jobs” According to him, many sectors can’t escape being hit. “Retraining then provides a nice foundation.”

Boufangacha does worry about freelancers and young people. “We’ve been calling for more protection for this group for years. It is disappointing that not only in the recent period, but also in the support package, nothing concrete is being done about this.”

Nic Holstein, chairman of the Confederation of Trade Unions for Professionals (VCP) agrees. “It is very important that young people receive the right support. Many of them have already lost their jobs. They too need to be helped back to work as soon as possible.”

Salary sacrifice

The organisations are particularly satisfied with the continuity offered by the support package.

VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland see the third emergency package as a good basis for the coming months, because entrepreneurs now know where they stand for a longer period of time. Hans de Boer, chairman of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW): “Three things were essential for us: investments, extending emergency measures and guiding people to new work. That’s all in the package.”

Jacco Vonhof, chairman of MKB-Nederland, calls the third support package generous despite the cutbacks. It still contains elements of the previous emergency aid. But there are also major changes, sees the foreman.

“In the meantime, for example, a salary sacrifice can be demanded from employees and the dismissal penalty will go further away. I’m not happy that it’s off, it’s a difficult period for many companies, but as a company you will have to adapt during this period. Unfortunately, that sometimes includes saying goodbye to employees.”

Boufangacha is not a fan of the proposal that employers can reduce wages. “That’s the stupidest thing to do during a crisis, people can barely make ends meet. Companies that think they can start talking to us right now about lowering wages will get it on the stick with us. If employers want to adjust labour costs, we look at the people with the widest shoulders: people in the top.”