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Protest against phasing out of subsidised jobs

27 February 2008 - Amsterdam wants to save over 30 million euro by getting rid of 1,200 of the 2,700 subsidised ‘ID jobs’, promising that nobody will become unemployed as a result. Critics say employees will suffer income losses and that some of Amsterdam’s most active social organisations may disappear.

At the initiative of the Bijstandsbond, an organisation of social assistance recipients, both employees and employers are being asked to sign a petition calling on the municipality to allow the current workers to keep their ID jobs and to create alternative subsidies for small idealistic organisations that now depend on ID jobs.

People with an ID job earn up to 125% of the minimum wage at virtually no cost to their employer. The municipality says the wages are ‘not in accordance with market wages’ and wants to lower them to 110% of the minimum wage. In addition, it wants to make employers pay for the productivity of their employee. Employees who lose their job as a result will be offered a job paying the minimum wage.

Piet van der Lende of the Bijstandsbond warns that employers may be tempted to get rid of their ID employees and instead switch to so-called ‘participation places’, at no cost to the employer. People with a participation place have no labour contract and receive no salary but social assistance (70% of the minimum wage). There are now 750 people with participation places and their number is rising, according to the municipality.

Many people with ID jobs work at schools, health care institutions or community centres. Others help run idealistic and often very active organisations including the Bijstandsbond; immigrants’ organisations HTIB and KMAN; refugee support group ASKV; art education organisation Artimobiel; political initiative D4net; police and secret service watchdog Jansen en Janssen; research collective Searchweb and Nederland Bekent Kleur, which is organising an anti-racism manifestation on 22 March.

According to the municipality, ID jobs have been ‘abused’ as alternative subsidies by organisations, some having only one person acting both as employer and as ID employee. Many such constructions would have been detected and ended since oversight was tightened on 1 January 2006.

The number of ID jobs has decreased by 600 since that date. In addition, the number of WIW jobs - another type of subsidised jobs - has decreased by 300.

The subsidised jobs were created in the 1990s. The idea was to have unemployed people do work that is of value to society and if possible to help them move on to a regular job. The latter happened only sparingly, in part because employers were reluctant to part with their cheap but experienced employees. Most municipalities have rescinded their ID and WIW arrangements.

Bijstandsbond (in Dutch)


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