thu 12 feb 2009 09:38:43 witte de withstraat
furor over whether we should abuse poles
i was just reading the web site of NRC handelsblad. apparently last week the vereniging voor internationale arbeidsbemiddelaars (union of international labor brokers) came up with a collective work agreement under which workers in NL could legally be paid less if they are from poland. but this caused so much furor among unions and in govt that they gave up on the idea.
i'm a little shocked that someone would have suggested a nationality-based pay scale in the first place. it would seem to go against article one of the dutch constitution. (but then again i've been told that in NL they're not obliged to follow their constitution.)
the dutch socialist party said the plan to legitimize underpaying polish workers would actually discriminate against dutch workers by making them more expensive. so much for international solidarity.
things seem to have changed since last april, when the dutch minister of social affairs (piet hein donner) was promising better housing conditions for polish workers because we need them so badly here — even as his polish counterpart (jolanta fedak) was trying to get polish workers to come home, because they had something like 600,000 vacant jobs in poland.
now tens of thousands of people are being laid off from their jobs here. could they maybe go find work in poland? would they have trouble finding a suitable collective labor agreement? would they have trouble passing the polish inburgeringstoets?
hg last night was describing to me the rather dismal job situation his recently immigrated polish sweetheart was in. she (a primary school teacher by profession) was working preparing food in a refrigerated room somewhere, with a bunch of other eastern europeans, who, unlike her, had absolutely no interest in being in holland except to earn some extra money and then go home. they would not be likely friends to build relationships with here. it does seem sad that people only want to come to western europe to make money. sounds like kind of a dreary existence. i wonder if that will change now that there's hardly a penny to be made here.