The round-up of some of this week’s most noteworthy events and news stories features: the string of incidents at the end of the Netherlands-Russia year-of-friendship, a missing Amersfoort Labour councilor, the impact of heavy rainfall with millions in damages in its wake and Greenpeace' tireless effort to free their crew from a Murmansk prison.
Both unions FNV and CNV accept the changes in the Social Agreement, which follow from the budget agreement of last Friday evening.
FNV chairman Ton Heerts says that he is not happy with the way how the agreement was ‘violated’. “What good does it make to have an agreement, which after a couple of months is on the table again. Are we going to see changes again around Christmas?”
The FNV actions against new cuts from the government, on November 30, are still on.
House D66 groupouse H leader Alexander Pechtold wants to break open the social agreement. He said this on television at Knevel and van den Brink.
According to Pechtold, reforms in the labor market, such as the easier dismissal laws and reduction of duration unemployment benefits, are too much delayed by the social agreement. The social agreement does not create jobs, but destroys jobs, said Pechtold.
Opposition parties, CDA and D66, expect clarification from Minister of Social Affairs, Lodewijk Asscher, about the implementation of the social agreement and the ministry’s speed in tackling unemployment which they think is too slow.
Minister Ronald Plasterk of Interior Affairs has on Sunday responded laconically to the threat, of Abvakabo chairman Corrie van Brenk, that the social agreement will be off the table if the Cabinet cuts 6 billion euro in 2014. "Well, the unions mark their position. That's just part of the game,” he said in the TV program WNL on Sunday.
In March, the government closed the social agreement with employers and employees. An austerity package of 4.3 billion was then put in the refrigerator. The hope was that the economy would attract and that the cuts would not be necessary.
During their Federation Council in Utrecht, all 18 FNV unions, including the critical Abvakabo, have unanimously voted positive to the social agreement that FNV chairman Ton Heerts signed with the government and employers half a week ago.
Minister Lodewijk Asscher of Social Affairs is worried about the speed of the increase in unemployment in the Netherlands. Chairman of political party D66 Alexander Pechtold said that the Netherlands is following Greece, Slovenia, Italy and Portugal. “It’s a category we shouldn’t feel comfortable in”.
On Thursday employers, employees and the government closed a social agreement. Part of the agreement is that the extra austerity package of 4.3 billion for 2014 is abandoned. In the fall it will be decided if next year additional cuts in the budget are necessary. Prime Minister Rutte Thursday disclosed this during a joint press conference.
Besides abandoning the austerity package, the agreement includes the WW, dismissal, the disabled, flexible employment, pensions and state pension deficiency.