Police give Justice Min. ultimatum on new labor contract

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The police unions have handed Justice Minister Ard van der Steur an ultimatum to come up with a better collective proposal than the last offer from former Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten, the police union Nederlandse Politiebond wrote in a statement. The new Justice Minister has until April 13th to respond, after which "tougher actions" can be expected from police personnel. 

The union did not say what those actions would be, nor did they say if officers would go on strike.

Police officers around the Netherlands have already protested against the proposal by sounding their sirens for one minute on March 19th. One of the reasons for the discontent is that Dutch police officers have not gotten a raise in four years, according to NRC. The unions are demanding a 3.3-percent wage increase among other measures. A bonus in connection with the radical reorganization going through the police is also on the demand list.

Hundreds of officers will march in protest through The Hague next Wednesday and hand over the "final warning" to Van der Steur. The protest is planned to take place after the ceremony in which the police chief, Gerard Bouman receives the new police banner from King Willem-Alexander.

The unions emphasize that they will not disrupt the ceremony itself, since they find it inappropriate to involve members of the royal family in a collective bargaining dispute.

Previously, the unions called on their members to only write fines on "gross violations" starting from March, after being disappointed with Opstelten's proposals in the negotiation. In all other cases, officers should just give a warning, the union said.

A so called "slow action" of the police officers jammed the A12 highway between The Hague and Reeuwijk Thursday morning. About sixty police cars and motorcycles drove the highway at 60 kilometers per hour at 10 a.m. to Reeuwijk and returned the same way causing delays on the road. Around 11.30 a.m. the officers returned to The Hague, according to Traffic Department.