Amsterdam workers on strike

Several hundred civil servants from the municipality of Amsterdam have staged a strike on Monday. They are protesting in front of City Hall for a pay rise. The strike will last two hours, says Fred Bos of the union Abvakabo FNV, het Parool reports. 

"We want to put pressure on the municipality of Amsterdam with this. On the 2nd of June, there will also be protests in The Hague", Bos says. According to Abvakabo FNV, the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) is still not ready to make proper agreements about a new collective labour agreement, after a year of negotiations. The unions have demanded a pay increase of 2.5 percent in 2013 and 3 percent in 2014.

"The collective labour agreement expired more than a year ago. The bargaining power has been going down for years and many jobs are being axed. Since 2008, Amsterdam has already put through 115 reorganizations. At the same time, more assignments re added", Bert de Haas, negotiator for Abvakabo FNV says.

The protesters also want clear agreements about employments, more steady jobs and more respect for their work. "The municipal staff does important work. They make sure that the trash is collected, that the streets are swept and that you are helped at the city hall. It is time that the VNG respects this. By improving the bargaining power of the 175,000 municipal workers, the economy will get going" De Haas says.