Meanwhile, unemployment is on the rise in the Netherlands. The largest bloc of the unemployed is the 45-65 age group, and with the retirement set to rise from 65 to 67 by 2021, the suggestions of a salary cut have provoked a vociferous debate.
“The commotion over Capgemini’s plans ... makes it clear how sensitive the position of older workers in the marketplace is,” Paul de Beer, labor relations lecturer at Amsterdam University, wrote in an opinion piece in the FD.
Capgemini’s plan “is possible, but whether it’s a good idea is another question,” added Lei Delsen, associate professor at the Nijmegen School of Economics.
Dutch unions were more blunt. A spokesman for FNV Bondgenoten, the Netherlands’ largest union, claiming about 475,000 members, called it a “veiled round of layoffs.”
Reiner Castelein of Dutch union De Unie said: “It’s like being ambushed by a highwayman jumping out from the bushes saying: ‘Your money or your life.’ We are advising people not to take the cut,” he said.