The Promota Magazine

How economic activities in SPAIN, PORTUGAL & GREECE hitting hard on African Dutch living and working in the Netherlands

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By Dr. Paul OVIAWE ( www.icc-edu.nl 

A new study from the International College of Commerce a postgraduate private professional institute in the Netherlands identifies fresh injustices suffered by African victims of racial discrimination and related intolerances. The study focused on the likelihood that an African-Dutch job applicant would be the last choice after white Dutch and European block citizens have been refused or not available, in some cases non European Union applicants are considered ahead of African-Dutch, not surprisingly by Dutch managers. The disadvantages faced by Africans in the Dutch society are also familiar, as race is one reason for inequality and gender is another, they are not mutually exclusive forms of discrimination. “In this case being an African and an African woman “Indeed, too often they intersect, giving rise to compounded or double discrimination. In today’s European Union experience for the Africans; factors relating to their social identity such as race, colour, ethnicity and national origin become “differences that make a difference.” These factors can create problems that are unique to particular groups of African professionals as well as disproportionately affect African-Dutch women relative to the African-Dutch Men. Examples of racial discrimination specific to African Dutch experience include:

  • Lower pay for work of equal value
  • Harassment on the basis of race or colour
  • Classification of employees on the basis of colour or race
  • Limited Employment possibilities in the Netherlands
  • Rise in Unemployment of African Dutch in the Netherlands
  • High illiteracy rates due to less interest by the Job market in developing this group.

Racial discrimination affects the quality of life for employees being treated unfairly, but legal options do exist in the Netherlands.

Contributory factors i. Unemployment in the Netherlands Unemployment in the Netherlands is on the rise with a current level of 3.7 percent which is the envy of other nations within the European Union. At first glance, the numbers seem to speak for themselves. The number of unemployed people in the Netherlands grew by 110,000 last year and currently totals 400,000.

Compared to almost all other countries however, the Netherlands is doing just great. Before the credit crunch, the Dutch job market was incredibly tight, Unemployment was at an historic low and businesses were having a very hard time finding new staff. Now that times are hard, they are cautious to fire the staff that they have worked so hard to find in the first place. No one can predict how the Dutch economy will recover. We might have left the recession behind us officially, but if growth slows down, or if a second recession follows, the job market will experience further fallout and that’s bad news for the African people resident in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, major strides have been made in achieving equality in the workplace, but racial discrimination still exists. These days, racial discrimination is not as overt, making it harder to identify at times.

No matter what form racial discrimination presents itself in, employers and employees must realize it is illegal, and allowing it to continue only feeds into the disturbing and problematic practice. A lot of African people might fear putting their jobs on the line by speaking out about racial discrimination, it is important to become educated about the subject and understand your rights. ii. Unemployment in EU countries Unemployment in Spain has reached 20 percent, meaning 4.6 million people are out of work. The figure, from the first quarter, is up from 19 percent and 4.3 million people in the previous quarter.

It represents the second-highest unemployment rate in the European Union. Spain’s economic problems are closely tied to the housing bust there, according to The Economist magazine. Many of the newly unemployed worked in construction, and  the recession revealed how dependent public finances were on housing-related tax revenues, it said. Another problem in Spain is that wages are set centrally and most jobs are protected, making it hard to shift skilled workers from one industry to another. In the same vein, Unemployment is rising as Portugal Plans Cuts; the number of people making an initial request for an unemployment check rose in January, nearly doubling as the Portugal prepares to impose an austerity program to tame its budget deficit.

Like Greece, Portugal’s deficit — 9.3 percent for last year — is far beyond European Union limits, and the government is trying hard to close the gap even as the economy still feels the ravages of the financial crisis. About 5 percent, or 563,000, of the Portuguese population is unemployed, and more than a third have no recourse to government aid. Most of the EU block unemployed are scavenging for jobs in the Netherlands alongside the non EU block workers like Russians and Ukrainians etc and these are of second and third choices for the Dutch and multinational employers based in the Netherlands after the first choice which is a white blue eyed Dutch could not be found. In one case an African professionals working in an organization for eight years was relieved of his job due to the economic crisis while his assistant a white newly hired Bulgarian whom he trained for seven months was retained in the same department for the same job. iii  Greece Financial Bailout That the EU had to bail out Greece is simply to preserve the creation of their beloved United States of Europe.

Country creation is usually political union followed by monetary union, but in this case having to do it the other way around. The current left-of-centre government in Athens inherited the disgracefully fiddled government financial books from the discredited outgoing conservative administration. Dutch taxpayers (which includes Africans- though with disadvantages in search of Jobs) is helping to foot the bill for the Greek  and any future bailout.  

The Greek government, with its high taxes and profligate spending to support large bureaucracies and social programs, is bankrupt. Its bonds have been downgraded to junk status.

Meanwhile, where will the next currency explosion occur? Might it conceivably be here in Portugal? If so who will then show solidarity in coming to the aid to Portugal? Being inside the euro might yet prove a very cold and vulnerable spot for Africans who work  so hard and pay taxes only to be discriminated by colour on the European labour market.

Come June elections, an advise is for African-Dutch voters to look closely at the different Dutch Party manifesto’s and vote for any party that is willing to look closely into the complexities of the African group living and working in the Netherlands.

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