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Lawsuit social minimum
A realistically established social minimum is the foundation on which poverty reduction policies are built. In 2016, both the Senate and the House of Representatives requested that a social minimum be established for Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius, based on the minimum cost of living. There still isn’t. Unkobon now wants to enforce it with a lawsuit.
What is going on?
Bonaire (just like Saba and St. Eustatius) has been a municipality of the Netherlands in the Caribbean for 12 years.
Yet 40% of the families on Bonaire have been living in poverty all this time. According to the figures established by Statistics Netherlands, people have an income below the subsistence minimum. Poverty has even increased.
For the inhabitants of the European part of the Netherlands, the government has established a social minimum (calculated on the basis of the necessary costs of living) on the basis of which minimum wages and social provisions are determined, so that people can be guaranteed livelihood security.
However, for the inhabitants of the Caribbean part of the Netherlands, the same government has been refusing to set a social minimum for 12 years that guarantees livelihood. The result is permanent, high poverty among the most vulnerable groups of the population; the elderly, the working poor, families with children, the disabled.
The minimum wage on Bonaire is $1236 in 2023, the minimum cost of living for married couples is twice as high!!
For more than 12 years now, the Dutch government has refused to treat the inhabitants of Bonaire (and Saba and St. Eustatius) in the same socio-economic terms as the inhabitants of the European Netherlands. It is incomprehensible that the government of the prosperous Netherlands knowingly maintains such unequal treatment!
What is going to happen?
Unkobon is fed up with this unequal treatment! Everything has been tried in recent years to get politicians to do the right thing. But the Dutch government continues to continually string the people of the islands along. Parliament keeps letting the Dutch governments get away with postponement policies. Even the present government continues to do this and also does not guarantee adequate security of existence for the vulnerable nationals on the islands.
In desperation, Unkobon went to court in late 2022. A lengthy process. Unkobon wants to give the Dutch state one more chance to rectify this omission before the court rules.
It cannot go on like this; the years of poverty for many must be broken! The unequal treatment, moral injustice and violation of constitutional and treaty law must stop. As much as for the nationals in the European Netherlands, a proper social minimum must be introduced for the nationals in the Caribbean part of the Netherlands and the government must guarantee subsistence security for the vulnerable in society.
Support the consumers union (Unkobon) in it’s fight for justice on behalf of teh people of Bonaire!
With legal proceedings we want to call the Dutch state to order. However, such a procedure involves many costs (lawyer fees, litigation costs, communication, information), which Unkobon cannot bear alone. We therefore need your support!
How can you help?
We need at least $200,000 for this lawsuit. Thanks to previous contributions, $156,000 has come in as of mid-July 2023, of which $127,000 already has been spent on expenses. We ask for your support in the form of a financial contribution to pay for the legal proceedings against the Dutch state and the publicity surrounding it.
With your support / donation:
Contribute to the cause and justice by putting an end to the unequal treatment of a large group of people in our prosperous Netherlands.
You prevent vulnerable people (the elderly, working poor, families with children, disabled people) in the Caribbean part of the Netherlands from having to live in poverty even longer.
Let your social heart speak and call the Dutch state to order.
We will regularly inform you, our donors, about campaign, lobby and lawsuit by newsletter.
You can transfer your donation to MCB Bonaire # 400356702 attn. Union di Konsumidó Boneiru, Kaya Korona 30, Bonaire, stating ‘lawcase’ and your email address.
For donations from the European Netherlands, Unkobon was able to open an account at Rabobank. NL70 RABO 0339 2414 54 in the name of Union di Konsumidó Boneiru, Bonaire.
Because Unkobon has been granted ANBI status by the Dutch tax authorities as of 1-1-2022, donations from individuals are income tax deductible.
Thank you very much for your contribution!!!
You can transfer your donation to
or NL70 RABO 0339 2414 54
Union di Konsumido Boneiru
Kaya Korona 30, Bonaire
stating your e-mail address and ‘lawsuit‘ .
Keep up with the latest developments
Demand letter minister of poverty policy
As a first step in the lawsuit for an equal social minimum, lawyer Channa Samkalden sent a demand letter to Minister Schouten on 5 July 2022 on behalf of Unkobon.
Read the demand letter here (dutch only).
Brief sociaal minimum aan Tweede Kamer
Op 5 juni 2022 stuurde Unkobon een brief aan de Tweede Kamer met een dringend beroep om aandacht te vragen voor het ontbreken van een fatsoenlijk sociaal minimum op Bonaire, Saba en Sint Eustatius. Lees hier de brief.