MFK demands adjustments to controversial 80/20 regulation

POSTED: 07/11/12 1:59 PM

WILLEMSTAD – The Movementu Futuro Kòrsou (MFK) demands changes to the controversial 80/20 regulation, the Antilliaans Dagblad reported yesterday. The newspaper obtained a document from the MFK-faction in parliament addressed to social development and Labor Minister Hensley Koeiman.

In this document the party expresses its concerns about the negative impact the 80/20 regulation in its current form will have on the country’s economy. Coalition partner Pueblo Soberano tabled the initiative law that requires all companies to employ at least 80 percent locals.

The MFK does not oppose the regulation, but it notes that there are a host of “constructions” in the national decree 80/20-regulation that will hamper its implementation. Pueblo Soberano introduced the legislation as a way to increase job opportunities for locals.

“The objective is based on the thought that locals are available at all times and that they meet the requirements for the jobs. This in spite of the knowledge that there is friction-unemployment: the education system produces workers for which there is no demand in the labor market.”

The national decree in its current form puts the obligation to hire locals fully on the employers, the MFK says in the document.

“The result will be no competent and productive employees, no growth of the company, and no economic growth.”

MFK, the party of Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte, furthermore notes that the education system is not geared towards the needs in the labor market and Curacao’s economic opportunities. A structure to map the competencies of the available employees is also lacking. It is left up to the employer to find local staff. MFK fears that the regulation will have an adverse effect and that it will result in job losses.

The national decree also suddenly requires an obligatory naturalization diploma or certificate for those who have always worked legally on the island. This requirement applies to workers of 18 years and older who have legally resided in Curacao for at least five years. While the national decree labels them as locals, the requirements they have to meet are almost insurmountable.

The MK fears that this will only lead to additional problems.

“The requirement for a naturalization diploma has no relationship whatsoever with the workplace and also not with the objective of the policy. It only focuses on knowledge about local affairs, while the 80/20-regulation aims to keep employment for locals,” the faction states in the document.

“What is the added value of this naturalization requirement for the labor market and for hiring locals?”

The MFK maintains that this particular requirement will cause “insecurity and inequality before the law among the citizens of Curacao. The underlying thought seems not to focus on naturalization at all; it resembles a craftiness to score results that have not allowed insight beforehand.”

The MFK is of the opinion that the naturalization requirement is designed to present a much lower quota of non-locals.

“In spite of the fact that these people are considered local, they still have to comply with the obligatory naturalization requirement.”

According to the national decree everybody gets six months to comply with the naturalization requirement. The MFK faction wonders if this measure does not force people to become Dutch. The faction also predicts that practically nobody will pass the exam.

“The 80/20 naturalization requirement creates space for inequality before the law and for legal insecurity by presenting outside of the civil code through legal regulations motives for the dismissal of employees based on their origin. That is and remains discrimination.”

The faction fears that employers that have to abide by the 80/20-regulation will not be able to expand their business but that they will have to downsize. This is not the objective of the legislation, the faction points out.

The MFK argues that the regulation shoots itself in the foot; the document furthermore expresses astonishment about the lack of a general rule for exemptions.

“It cannot be that we stick to the 80/20 rule until the economy goes under and we are all left empty handed.”

The MFK proposes to amend the legislation by introducing an exemption-rule and by applying the 80/20-rule only to sectors that benefit the current unemployed population like agriculture, stock breeding, fishery, construction, retail and installation and repair companies.

MFK wants different percentages for small companies: 75/25 for companies with 4 employees, 66/34 for companies with three employees, 50/50 for companies with two employees.

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