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BBB Likely to Reject Additional Minimum Wage Increase; Proposal Expected to Face Senate Defeat

The additional minimum wage increase proposed by the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch Parliament, is unlikely to materialize as anticipated. The right-wing political party BBB is poised to vote against the bill next week, as revealed by Ilona Lagos, the leader of the BBB faction in the Senate, following a report by NOS. Consequently, it is anticipated that the majority of senators will reject the bill.

Last month, the proposal to augment the minimum wage and associated benefits by an additional 1.2 percent beyond the inflationary rise in July garnered approval from a majority in the Tweede Kamer, chiefly due to support from the PVV. However, parties that opposed the measure, including BBB, wield a collective majority in the Eerste Kamer, the Senate.

BBB had previously voiced concerns that further raising the minimum wage could burden entrepreneurs with high costs and jeopardize job security. Additionally, the party highlighted the substantial financial implications for the treasury resulting from concurrent increments in benefits.

This development may potentially exacerbate tensions among the four political parties grappling to form a coalition government since the November election. While the PVV and NSC endorsed the supplementary minimum wage hike, the VVD and now BBB have stood in opposition.

The measure secured passage in the Tweede Kamer in March by a vote of 107 to 43, buoyed by backing from the far-right PVV. Notably, the majority of dissenting votes stemmed from right-wing coalition parties, including BBB, VVD, CDA, FvD, SGP, and Ja21. However, BBB holds the most seats in the upper house with 16, setting the stage for a potential 39-36 vote against the proposal in the Eerste Kamer, should voting align strictly along party lines.

Tom van der Lee, who proposed the measure as a Member of Parliament for GroenLinks-PvdA, denounced BBB’s decision to oppose the minimum wage increase as “deeply misguided.” He lamented the party’s stance, expressing concern over the substantial decline in purchasing power for low-wage earners.

Despite notable increases in recent years, many individuals in low-paying occupations still struggle to make ends meet, facing a significant shortfall in income each month. A committee’s findings from last year underscored the inadequacy of support for this demographic, advocating for further escalations in the minimum wage to address their plight.

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