Roemer wants tougher measures against exploitation and repression

5 December 2016

Roemer wants tougher measures against exploitation and repression

“Despite all of the government’s fine words, and especially those of Labour Party Employment Minister Lodewijk Asscher, temping agencies and gangmasters are being given a free hand to bring hundreds of thousands of eastern European workers here and exploit them by means of pay which amounts to dumping.” So said SP leader Emile Roemer today on national television. The SP wants to see these rogue agencies and employers tackled in as tough a manner as possible and fined accordingly, with permits introduced for the employment of workers from central and eastern European countries.

“There are still half a million Dutch workers looking for employment,” says Roemer. “A great many people from abroad, from eastern Europe and elsewhere, are being exploited in devious ways, far from their families, and put to work on starvation wages. They generally live in old, poor districts, with far too many people sharing a badly maintained dwelling, resulting in all sorts of nuisances. And the state is losing an estimated half billion a year in taxes and social insurance premiums. The only winners are the firms and temporary employment agencies whose revenue model is based on exploitation.”

The SP wants to see these rogue agencies and employers tackled and a tougher approach taken, while the influx of migrant workers must be regulated. “There should be a system of work permits for people who come here for employment, which would enable the Netherlands to retake control over who comes here to work and monitor in which sectors we need people,” insists Roemer. “There should also be a compulsory permit for temping agencies, which would mean we could get rid of unscrupulous companies, Repeated violations would result in an agency being permanently excluded from certification.”

With €25 million extra for the labour inspectorate to increase its staffing levels, the SP would ensure that these rules were actually followed. We would also make it obligatory to provide migrant workers with Dutch lessons, because if people can’t understand each other this can result in life-threatening situations.

“For years now the right have been able, thanks to Brussels, to cause dislocation in the labour market with cheap labour to employers addicted to paying wages which amount to a form of dumping,” says Roemer. “And some who call themselves ‘left’ defend this, using the argument of ‘international solidarity’. This kind of exploitation has nothing to do with international solidarity. So it’s high time to take the power away from employers addicted to cheap labour. Break the power of gangmasters who are getting filthy rich on the suffering of others.”

You are here