The Netherlands: No pay rise for nurses

The Dutch Parliament has rejected pay rises for the entire care sector by a narrow margin. Voices from the government camp decided the outcome of the vote. Led by right-wing populist Geert Wilders, the opposition had proposed the pay rise to reward nursing staff for their hard work during the coronavirus crisis. Commentators voice understanding for the government's position on one side, but anger about the debate on the other.

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De Volkskrant (NL) /

Spending billions more not financially viable

De Volkskrant can understand why the government has said no:

“The coalition is in a difficult position because public opinion in the country sympathises with the nursing staff. ... Significantly improving their working conditions could quickly cost billions. ... Who will pay for this now that the cabinet is heading towards a historic budget deficit? In this respect the sudden consensus among the opposition is also just a temporary phenomenon. As soon as a wage increase is budgeted and leads to higher contributions or taxes, the outrage will cause this united front to fall apart.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

This is not just about money

NRC Handelsblad criticises that the parties have put on an embarrassing performance regarding nursing staff:

“The problem with the debate on nursing staff wages is all the cynical political manoeuvering that has gone on at the expense of the nursing staff in recent weeks. ... What does the nursing profession gain from this? Not much. The heavy workload, bureaucratisation, the lack of staff - none of these aspects are being discussed. ... The problem is more fundamental and goes far beyond salary levels. It requires a thorough debate.”