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Low-Wage Work in the Netherlands

Overview

The Dutch economy has often been heralded for accomplishing solid employment growth within a generous welfare system. In recent years, the Netherlands has seen a rise in low-wage work and has maintained one of the lowest unemployment rates in the European Union. Low-Wage Work in the Netherlands narrows in on the causes and consequences of this new development. The authors find that the increase in low-wage work can be partly attributed to a steep rise in the number of part-time jobs and non-standard work ...

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Overview

The Dutch economy has often been heralded for accomplishing solid employment growth within a generous welfare system. In recent years, the Netherlands has seen a rise in low-wage work and has maintained one of the lowest unemployment rates in the European Union. Low-Wage Work in the Netherlands narrows in on the causes and consequences of this new development. The authors find that the increase in low-wage work can be partly attributed to a steep rise in the number of part-time jobs and non-standard work contracts—46 percent of Dutch workers hold part-time jobs. The decline in full-time work has challenged historically powerful Dutch unions and has led to a slow but steady dismantling of many social insurance programs from 1979 onward. At the same time, there are hopeful lessons to be gleaned from the Dutch model: low-wage workers benefit from a well-developed system of income transfers, and many move on to higher paying jobs. Low-Wage Work in the Netherlands paints a nuanced picture of the Dutch economy by analyzing institutions that both support and challenge its low-wage workforce.

A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Case Studies of Job Quality in Advanced Economies

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Product Details

Meet the Author

WIEMER SALVERDA is director of the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.

MAARTEN VAN KLAVEREN is researcher and consultant at STZ Consultancy and Research.

MARC VAN DER MEER is director of studies at the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.

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Table of Contents


Authors and Acknowledgements ii
Contents iii
List of figures vi
List of tables vii
Wiemer Salverda, Maarten van Klaveren en Marc van der Meer 1
1 The debate on low pay 1
1.1 Three core issues: institutions, firm strategies and job quality 1
1.2 The debate on low pay 2
1.3 The hesitant debate on work organization and job quality 7
1.4 Monograph lay out 9
Wiemer Salverda 11
2 Low-wage Work and the Economy 11
2.1. The prominent growth of a part-time economy 11
2.2 Characteristics and evolution of low-wage employment 18
2.3 Significance of low-wage employment for the national economy 23
2.4 The probability of being low paid and earnings mobility 27
2.5 Summary 29
Wiemer Salverda 31
3 Labor-market Institutions, Low-wage Work and Job Quality 31
3.1 Analyzing and selecting institutions 31
3.2 Foundations of Dutch labor market institutions: the ¿Polder model¿ 33
3.3 Institutions affecting costs and incomes 38
3.3.1 Collective labor agreements 38
3.3.2 Constraints on wage formation: minimum wage and equal treatment 43
3.3.3 Taxation, subsidies and benefits 47
3.4 Institutions influencing job content and work organization 53
3.4.1 Education and training 53
3.4.2 Hiring and firing 57
3.4.3 Labor-supply constraints: migration and early retirement 63
3.4.4 Health and safety and working hours 64
3.5 Conclusions 68
Maarten van Klaveren 73
4 Position, design and methodology of the industry studies 73
4.1 Development of employment in the target industries 73
4.2 The incidence of low pay by industry 75
4.3 Firm strategies: high road and low road 78
4.4 Research design, methodology and contrasts 80
Maarten van Klaveren 83
5 Retail Industry: The Contrast of Supermarkets and Consumer Electronics 83
5.1 Dutch retail: a first and a closer look 83
5.2 Methodology 84
5.3 The economic and institutional context 85
5.3.1 Employment 85
5.3.2 Competitive pressures and industry performance 87
5.3.3 Institutions and labor relations 92
5.4 Cases in context 94
5.4.1 Employment, work organization and flexibility 94
5.4.2 Job quality 95
5.4.3 Working time 97
5.4.4 Wages and compensations 97
5.4.5 Recruitment, training and careering 98
5.5 Evaluation 99
Ria Hermanussen 101
6 Hotels: industry restructuring and room attendants¿ jobs 101
6.1 Methodology 101
6.2 The economic and institutional context 103
6.2.1 Restructuring, internationalization and standardization 103
6.2.2 Industry performance 104
6.2.3 Innovation 105
6.2.4 Cost-saving methods 105
6.2.5 Employment and careering 106
6.2.6 The role of institutions 106
6.3 Room attendants and their jobs 108
6.3.1 Backgrounds of room attendants 108
6.3.2 Outsourcing 109
6.3.3 The job of the room attendant 110
6.3.4 Deteriorating job quality 115
6.3.5 In search of a high road 116
6.4 Evaluation 118
Marc van der Meer 121
7 Health Care: Integrated Quality Care sheltered from Cost Control? 121
7.1 The health-care sector 122
7.1.1 National regulation 122
7.1.2 Specialization and budget allocation 123
7.1.3 Labor market institutions 124
7.2 Changing work organization and low wage employment 131
7.3 Working conditions and job quality 135
7.4 Outlook: costs and benefits of protective labor market institutions 137
Maarten van Klaveren and Wim Sprenger 139
8 Call-center Jobs 139
8.1 Working in call centers ¿ diverging jobs and wages 139
8.1.1 Call-center agents: the same job, different conditions 139
8.1.2 Temp agencies and call-center work 140
8.1.3 A variety of tasks and wage levels 140
8.1.4 Methodology 141
8.2 The economic and institutional context 143
8.2.1 The emergence of an industry 143
8.2.2 Recent changes at industry level 144
8.2.3 Recent changes in firm strategies 147
8.2.4 Labor relations 148
8.3 Cases in context 151
8.3.1 Employment, work organization and job quality 151
8.3.2 Working hours and contracts 154
8.3.3. Wages and compensations 155
8.3.4 Recruitment, training and careering 156
8.4 Evaluation 156
Arjen van Halem 159
9 Food: meat processing and confectionary 159
9.1 Two small but interesting sub-sectors 159
9.1.1 A short overview 159
9.1.2 Methodology 160
9.2 Confectionary: the economic and institutional context 162
9.3 Meat processing: the economic and institutional context 165
9.4 Job quality 168
9.4.1 Job design and work organization 168
9.4.2 Working conditions 169
9.4.3 Wages 171
9.4.4 Changes in employment related to numerical flexibility 173
9.4.5 Opportunities for internal mobility: which perspectives? 174
9.5 Evaluation 175
Wiemer Salverda, Maarten van Klaveren, Marc van der Meer, Wim Sprenger, Kea Tijdens, Arjen van Halem en Ria Hermanussen 179
10 Institutions and firm strategies that matter for the low paid 179
10.1 Deliberative institutions 180
10.2 Firm strategies 181
10.3 Institutional preconditions that matter for the low paid? 184
10.3.1 Incomes and tax policy for the low paid 184
10.3.2 Collective labor agreements 185
10.3.3 Employment contracts and dismissal protection 186
10.3.4 Education and training 186
10.3.5 Job quality 187
10.3.6 Representation of low-wage workers 188
10.4 Outlook 189
Literature 193
Abbreviations 201
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