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Netherlands – Equal pay agreement for underpaid foreign workers

29 August 2012

One of the Netherlands’ largest trade union federations, FNV, has pushed for an equal pay agreement for foreign Polish workers who the union claims were systematically underpaid. Shortly after announcing the filing of a legal lawsuit against the Poland-based installation company Remak SA, the firm has given in to the union’s demands.

In light of an imminent court case, the company’s management has now agreed to pay the Polish workers the same salaries as the Dutch staff employed at a site in the North of the country. Once the agreement has been fully implemented, the Polish staff will also receive the appropriate holiday leave and evening pay rates.

The company employs around 800 Polish workers at a site in Eemshaven. Those workers can now expect to see their salaries adjust by up to 20%.

“This result is a strong signal to other foreign employers who underpay, as well as to their clients. Not only in Eemshaven, but also in the agricultural sector, haulage, shipbuilding, [and] supermarket logistics,” said Masja Zwart from FNV.

She also pointed out that many firms suspected of breaking the law are under close supervision of the Labour Inspectorate, which is investigating cases of exploitation involving in particular foreign and migrant workers from Eastern Europe. 

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