Collective wages increased significantly, but still less than inflation

Wage increases in the collective bargaining agreements reached a new peak in the first quarter of 2023. Wages rose 5.0 percent – the highest growth in 40 years. But still not enough to compensate for the high inflation, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reported on Thursday.

CBS will publish the first quarter inflation figures next week. But based on the currently available figures – January, February, and a first estimate for March – inflation amounted to around 6.6 percent in the first quarter. That means that even with a 5.0 percent wage increase, Dutch households had approximately 1.5 percent less to spend.

At 5.0 percent, the collectively bargained-for wage increase was almost twice as high as in the first quarter of 2022 (2.7 percent). At the sector level, wages rose most in the hospitality industry at 8.0 percent Part of that is the significant increase in minimum wages that took effect in January. A year ago, the hospitality industry had one of the lowest wage increases at 0.3 percent. The transport and storage sector saw the second-largest increase at 7.8 percent. Wages rose least in the rental and trade of real estate sector (2.5 percent).

Of the three distinguished sectors, collective wages rose the most in the government and private companies, both 5.3 percent. The subsidized institutions’ sector, which includes most healthcare, lagged behind at 3.6 percent. CBS noted that these calculations did not include the recently concluded collective labor agreement for hospitals.

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