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Many small and medium-sized companies in the Dutch construction industry have been affected by the current economic climate and have made increasing use of outsourcing work to freelancers and temporary workers. Wim van Wanrooij, Speciality Director at Randstad Technical, says the firm has benefitted from this trend. "Last year, our turnover increased by 30%," he said.
But Mr Van Wanrooij also warned of the crisis that the construction industry in the Netherlands faces at it is a sector that is becoming less attractive to young workers, creating a shortage of skilled labourers that can only be filled with “foreign temporary workers,” something he is eager to avoid. “Super cheap Romanians”, be believes, are not the way forward as instead more focus should be paid on fostering a healthy climate for local agency workers.
Therefore some companies and trade unions in the Netherlands have discussed the creation of a scheme that will allow local temporary workers to take advantage of the labour shortage in the industry as they will get longer and more stable assignments.
Mr Van Wanrooij supports this scheme but mentioned “the ups and downs” in the construction sector. He pointed out that when a construction company goes bankrupt, there are often reports of cases where independent contractors have not been paid their full salaries, which can sometimes be as much as €16,000.
While Mr Van Wanrooij called this “distressing”, he was praising the flexibility the construction industry offers for agency workers. The flexibility in the construction industry is “unstoppable,” he said.