Dutch might keep new EU
workers waiting even longer
11 October 2006
AMSTERDAM Social Affairs State Secretary Henk van Hoof has indicated the government could postpone its planned opening of Dutch borders to all workers from the new EU member states.
Van Hoof told MPs on Tuesday he cannot make (a)decision about the date just yet, sparking speculation the Cabinet will postpone the free movement of workers from the new EU states.
The cabinet is currently aiming to open its borders (to) workers from Poland, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic on 1 January 2007.
But Labour PvdA and Christian Democrat CDA have been highly critical of the decision, demanding more measures to prevent evasion of the minimum wage and substandard workplace conditions.
“The introduction of free movement of labour in the short-term is desirable, but no decision can yet be taken on the date,” Van Hoof said, adding that preparations may not be completed in time.
He said trade unions, employer organisations and governments must make firmer agreements guaranteeing there will be no unfair competition for Dutch employees.
Employers currently have to apply for a work permit from the jobs agency CWI if they want to employ workers from the new EU states.
The CWI checks whether any Dutch workers or employees from the old EU member states could be recruited.
In recent months, regulations have been eased for 23 sectors and Van Hoof wants to continue in the coming period to make it gradually easier to employ new EU workers.