11 December 2023, by Emily Proctor
According to a memorandum by several Dutch employers’ associations, employers want to give lower pay rises to their employees in 2024, so that they can have more money to invest. A representative from one of the associations said that trade unions plan to push for wage increases of between 5 and 14 percent next year.
Lower pay rises for employees in 2024
One of the key reasons for employers wanting to hand over lower increases in salary next year is in large due to the relatively high increases in wages issued in 2023. Since inflation has increased significantly in the Netherlands in the past couple of years, employers have been forced to issue pay increases in line with, or at least proportional to, inflation.
Now, as inflation starts to fall again, employers have other priorities. According to a memorandum published by the employers’ associations of AWVN, VNO-NCW, and MKB Nederland, more companies want to have money left over to invest, rather than using up the budget to top up salaries. According to the memorandum, companies are looking particularly to invest in productivity, and have urged businesses and unions to keep “long-term challenges” in sight.
Economic situation has worsened for many Dutch companies
Though there is not a high bankruptcy rate in Dutch companies, the employers’ associations point out that there are many companies that need to invest extra money to simply survive in 2024. AWVN director Raymond Puts told De Telegraaf: “Of course, entrepreneurs were present at the collective labour agreement tables themselves this year. But it was an extreme time. They saw that the purchasing power of their employees was under pressure. As a result, some people really went to extremes,” Puts said.
Puts stresses that this sort of situation cannot happen again. “The economic situation [in the past year] has deteriorated in many companies and sectors. At the same time, entrepreneurs must become more sustainable and they must deal with the shortage in the labour market. That can only be done by investing, labour productivity must increase,” he told the newspaper.
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