|Neo Dutch Employer XAP XEMINI says to employee "Your wage in Yuan or we move to China".|
The proposal to reduce the wages of older workers by about 10%, by the Dutch ITC Company Capgemini, part of the French multinational Capgemini with approximately 100,000 employees worldwide, is considered as a break through of one of the last taboos on the labor market.
Three workers aged 45 and older, who are afraid to give their names, came yesterday to the Dutch national newspaper 'Trouw' ( The article "Capgemini frequently asked for salary sacrifices", January 9, 2013). The news that Capgemini asks 400 colleagues for a 10 percent reduction of their wages, is the reason to tell their story. “We are pleased that this subject has come in public. Capgemini kept secret for years their actions for wage reduction . There is no collective agreement, unions are widely kept outside and to prevent clashes with the labor law and unions, people were fired bit by bit. Meanwhile, for many years we have had no pay rise, we had to give away senior arrangements and as the elderly we feel that every month can be your last.”
The average age of employees is 42 years at Capgemini. The sacrifice of wage income concerns the middle management in the company above that age. It is about a reduction of wage from 250 to 300 euros net per month. These older workers are usually not hired by Capgemini, but come from merged companies like Business Application Services (BAS) , Getronics or the IT departments of retail company Maxeda and the printer and camera manufacturer Canon.
From the moment these employees were transferred to Capgemini, they feel unsafe, confirm the three sources. “For years now these people is asked to accept lower wages. From the original 2200 BAS employees hundreds of them have been fired or have left the company. Many no longer were needed because of outsourcing to India. Redundancies were done under the name of Operaters to avoid reporting to the Dutch legal institution that promotes the interests of redundant workers.”
The legislation on collective redundancies have been tightened last year and now Capgemini has to expose themselves. In September, 350 people were fired collectively. The social plan was not aligned with the unions: it was the Works Council of Capgemini that has agreed to the redundancy scheme. The Works Council even has agreed with the reduction of wages, but in the workplace this is criticized.
"The Works Council follows the American Way of doing”, says a source. They accept that the staff is constantly under pressure. Management and Works Council believe that the organization is closed and that there more space is needed for young people to be hired. “Capgemini is indeed a good employer for young professionals, but older people are not used to this approach. Therefore we must not be played off against each other, but later, when it is clear what purpose is served exactly with the latest wage sacrifices, we should say all 400 together "NO" to this pay cut.”
The unions add to all this that if an employee agrees his wage being cut and after all this he will still be fired, he will receive an unemployment benefit based on this lower wage. The unions therefore recommend the workers to ask at least for additional guarantees against dismissal and to get their former wage back once the company makes profits again.
Source: Dutch newspapers. Quotes come from the aforementioned article in the newspaper Trouw on 9 January 2013.