Business organizations suggest longer working hours to cope with tight labor market
Employees should work more hours to cope with the tight labor market. This can be a short-term step to ensure that the workload remains manageable. The extra hours could also reduce social problems resulting from staff shortages, said business organizations VNO-NCW, MKB Nederland, and AWVN.
According to the entrepreneurs, extending working hours must become a topic of discussion in companies and collective labor agreement negotiations. Employers and employees need to discuss this. “It cuts both ways: we solve part of the shortage problem, and it is good for the purchasing power of employees, now that life has become significantly more expensive,” the organizations said in a statement.
The current shortages in the labor market are causing “serious problems,” they said. The quality of care is declining. There are problems in education and public transport. The ambitions for sustainability and housing are becoming unattainable. And the shortages are hampering economic growth, according to the organizations.
“The Cabinet has announced concrete plans to tackle the shortages, but these offer too little solace in the short term,” the business organizations said. “That is why new unconventional solutions are needed, like extending working hours.”
According to the organizations, the Netherlands has 4.5 million people who work part-time. Of these, 500,000 would have indicated that they’d like to work more and could start doing so immediately if that also paid more.
Trade unions like CNV and FNV mainly argue for higher wages to tackle the high inflation and the tight labor market. Especially now that inflation has been very high for some time, wages need to rise sharply to maintain employees’ purchasing power. In the newspaper Trouw, the unions said they are “well armed” in the hunt for higher wages.
Reporting by ANP