Firefighters' gear (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Muffet) Firefighters' gear (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Muffet)
Firefighters planning national labor actions
After more than a year of unmet demands for a better pension plan, firefighters across the Netherlands are planning labor actions. Negotiations fell apart to the point that employers no longer even show up for them, according to union FNV, RTL Nieuws reports. In a "last attempt" for consultation, the unions arranged a meeting at the Utrecht Fire House on Monday night at 7:00 p.m. "We waited untie 7:15. We find this disrespectful", a spokesperson for FNV said to the broadcaster. "We will no longer wait for a new consultation. We will now consider action." According to the spokesperson, the labor actions will probably involve nationwide, public-friendly protests. Firefighters, unions and employers have been negotiating on arrangements for early retirement for over a year. The older they get, the harder firefighter find it to cope with the physical and mental demands of their job. "Firefighters can not do this work until they're 65. Who wants to be saved by a 65 year old fireman? In addition, the life expectancy of a firefighter is many years shorter than for other employees. Therefore a decent arrangement is necessary", Bert de Haas, director of FNV Overheid, said. The union set employers an ultimatum, expiring at 10:00 a.m. on June 23rd. If the employers can not meet their demands for a better pension arrangement, labor actions will follow.