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| A NUMBER OF GROUPS IN THE Netherlands seem to agree that women are under-represented in top jobs in both companies and public sector bodies. However they have different views on how to change the situation. While the governing Labour party wants to set a target of 30% of executives in large companies being female by 2016, telecomms firm KPN has gone further in asking only women to be candidates for certain posts. Meanwhile a group of over 200 female executives have called for an enforceable quota of 40%, as in Norway. They point out that the current figure of 5.7% at boardroom level will only stand at 12% in 2035 at the present rate of increase. Trade union federation FNV supports this position and has started negotiating with employers on the issue.
||of depth and fulfilment in their jobs as opposed to men who valued promotion more highly. Employers generally accepted the possibility of part-time executives but regarded such posts at managerial level as more problematic. Chair of the Part-Time PlusTaskforce, Pia Dijkstra, concludes that the pattern of part-time working as soon as a woman has a child is taken for granted in the Netherlands regardless of its impact on career development. While employers must change attitudes, for instance towards careers for the over-45s, government also has a rôle to play. By incorporating music and swimming lessons into the school day and lengthening opening hours for shops and services it could reduce the onus on women to be available for childcare after 3 p.m.|
Studies by the government body on part-time working have revealed deeper reasons in Dutch society for the lack of participation of female employees at higher levels. Although most women of working age now have jobs, the average number of hours worked is 25 compared to 37 for men. The vast majority of female part-time majority of female part-time workers expressed no desire to work longer hours and were ambitious in terms
OF ALL EU MEMBER STATES THE HARDEST HIT by the economic slump appears to have been Latvia. Once it had the biggest snarl of the ‘Baltic tigers’ as economic growth, credit and pay rates roared ahead. Since 2008 however the indicators have slammed into reverse and the economy is thought to have contracted by about 18% last year with unemployment reaching 21%. After reaching agreement on swingeing cuts demanded by the Inrenational Monetary Fund (IMF) (see issue 47) as a condition of a €8.5 billion loan the coalition government reduced public sector pay by 40% and pensions by at least 10%. Now however the pensioners have bitten back by winning their case before the country’s Constitutional Court arguing that the cuts ‘violated the individual's right to social security and the principle of the rule of law’. The court ordered the government to rescind the decrease by March and to pay back the difference, at an estimated total cost of €250 million. Discounting the strictures of the IMF it ruled that such agreements ‘in and of themselves cannot serve as an argument about the limiting of basic rights’.