VDL staff: ‘Don’t immediately sign a dismissal proposal’

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Uncertain times for VDL Nedcar staff in Born. Yesterday the VDL Groep announced a mass layoff, more than 1800 employees will lose their jobs. According to Pascal Besselink, employment lawyer at DAS, it may take some time before every employee knows exactly what to expect. ‘Especially when it comes to somewhat older employees.’

The dismissal of almost half of VDL Nedcar’s workforce is the result of the fact that it is not possible to find a new customer. The German car manufacturer BMW has decided to stop production of the Mini in Born.

Various stages must be completed before the dismissal of the staff. After informing the works council, the trade unions and the UWV, a social plan will have to be negotiated. The order of dismissal should also be considered, says Besselink. ‘In the past, the one who came in last had to leave first. That is a bit more nuanced these days.’

Social plan

The unions and VDL have been at loggerheads with each other about the social plan for some time now, and work has also been spontaneously stopped on a number of occasions. However, the management of VDL does not want to make any changes to the existing plan, which is still valid until next year.

These discussions are also often a difficult process, says Besselink. The transition payments included in the current plan are above the statutory starting point. But VDL also has an interest in reaching a deal. This makes the dismissal process easier. But the unions also have to start counting their buttons.’ In that respect, an exciting period awaits the staff, he thinks. ‘Influence can certainly be exerted, both from the Works Council and from the trade unions.’

Extensive freedom

Although the organization will be laid off widely, the emphasis will be on production, says Besselink. ‘In terms of employment law, an employer has far-reaching policy freedom to determine which positions will disappear. But there are rules attached to that.’ The bottom line is that each function is divided into age categories. Those with the shortest employment within those categories may be the first to be considered for dismissal.

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Besselink advises staff not to simply agree to the dismissal proposal. “Don’t just assume it’s all right. Have that checked properly, get good advice about it so that everything you sign is correct and correct.’

Employees of the VDL-Nedcar car factory in Born
Employees of the VDL-Nedcar car factory in Born (AP)

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