De Jong: European plans for wages and pensions bad for the man and woman in the street

10 March 2011

De Jong: European plans for wages and pensions bad for the man and woman in the street

SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong is unimpressed by proposals from leaders of member state governments to give Brussels the power to meddle with retirement ages and wage agreements. The European Parliament will debate the issue this morning with the European Commission. ‘The leaders’ proposals which have been leaked to the media are all directed at demolishing the rights of ordinary men and women,’ says De Jong.

De Jong has numerous criticisms to make of the plan, supported by both the Commission and certain government leaders, to couple retirement ages to life expectancy. “It’s putting the cart before the horse,” he says. “It’s unnecessary and undesirable to raise retirement ages when almost one in ten – 9.9% - of the workforce is unemployed, unemployment amongst young people is growing and older people in any case can’t get jobs.”

In addition to raising retirement ages, some government leaders want to ensure that member states prevent wages from rising more quickly than productivity. Dennis de Jong finds it annoying that every new idea coming from Brussels represents a negative step for working people. “When will the government leaders come out with proposals for minimum wages or for ensuring decent jobs?” he asks. “I am not hearing a word about social goals. Instead, they are pushing their way into wage negotiations between employers and workers’ organisations like a bull in a china shop. We have nationally negotiated wage agreements in the Netherlands, and Brussels should keep its hands off them.”

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