The House of Representatives voted in favour of the motion that there should be separation between the employment and accommodation of migrant workers. Migrant workers will soon receive a rental agreement that is separate from their work contract. This will make them less vulnerable to being suddenly evicted from their accommodation when they stop working for the boss.
In the future, migrant workers will also be entitled to their own bedroom. Currently, several people, often strangers, are frequently forced to share a bedroom.
This is a huge step forward for the FNV, which has been strongly committed in the past one and a half years to fighting against the un-Dutch dependence that migrant workers have on their employers, often employment agencies. In recent years, the union has seen hundreds of harrowing examples of migrant workers’ housing and living conditions.
Tuur Elzinga, Vice President of the FNV (now president): “This is already a monumental victory, and one of many to come, against the years of exploitation of thousands of migrant workers in the Netherlands. Due to all kinds of tax regulations, employers earn a lot of money from this form of cheap labour. And with the same ease, they are set aside by employers as disposable employees. This modern form of slavery must finally come to an end.”
The separation of employment and accommodation is one of the 50 recommendations from the report adopted by the task force for the protection of migrant workers, led by Emile Roemer. In recent months, the team visited various migrant locations with the FNV to hear about and see the appalling living situations firsthand. One migrant worker is FNV-member Hugo Afecto: “We are delighted with this first step towards a more civilised society in the Netherlands. We are essential workers for the Netherlands and now that is finally being seen and recognised!”
Elzinga: “Agreeing to the motions is the first step, but the work is not done yet. We are closely monitoring whether the intention is quickly translated into policy and complied with. However, more needs to be done to stop the inhumane and precarious conditions in which migrant workers live and work. We will continue to work hard for this. The Netherlands should not want to be a place for exploitation and modern slavery, but a place for jobs that offer a human existence by Dutch standards.”
The FNV union reacted positively to the task force’s recommendations at the end of October but says that there is still a lack of understanding of the underlying problem. The union calls for the rapid implementation of the task force’s recommendations, but also calls for additional measures. The FNV campaigned for this in the House of Representatives last week.