KRALENDIJK – On October 26, the Central Dialogue held discussions with Minister Schouten, State Secretary Van Huffelen, and the Chair of the Committee on the Social Minimum for Caribbean Netherlands, Glenn Thodé. The conversation revolved around the introduction of the social minimum and the increase in the Statutory Minimum Wage (WML).
Members of the Central Dialogue expressed their appreciation for the efforts of both government officials and Glenn Thodé in combating poverty and establishing a social minimum. The Central Dialogue has advocated for this since its inception and has proposed concrete measures. The actual implementation of these measures can count on full support from the Central Dialogue.
The outcomes of the Committee’s report are in line with the expectations of the Central Dialogue. Many residents of Bonaire live in poverty, with their incomes from benefits or work not being sufficient to cover the cost of living. To put an end to this, costs must be reduced, and incomes increased.
The Central Dialogue is positive about the large number of measures suggested by the government, as well as the measures enforced by the Second Chamber through motions and amendments. These include, among others, the increase in child benefits, maintaining subsidies for basic utilities such as water, electricity, and internet, rental subsidies, raising the tax-free threshold, and continuing the energy subsidy for low-income individuals.
All participants in the discussion were very positive. The Usibo union said, “This is what we’ve been advocating for all these years.”
BFB added, “Finally, the social minimum has been established, and this will also provide a significant boost to the economy.”
KvK noted, “Introducing the social minimum in this way will improve purchasing power, which is very beneficial for the local economy and local entrepreneurship.”
The Public Entity of Bonaire (OLB) responded with, “It’s great that it’s finally happening, but as far as we’re concerned, there’s more to be done.”
However, concerns have also been raised. Such a wage increase can often lead to price hikes, which, in turn, may require additional wage increases. Members of the Central Dialogue and the minister see it as a joint responsibility to closely monitor this situation.