Cops lock down Amsterdam city center in labor conflict


Police officers are protesting for a better collective bargaining agreement around Amsterdam Central Station on Wednesday morning. Train travelers entering the city center get the warning that they're doing so at their own risk, because fewer police officers are working there this morning. Banners with the same warning are hung along roads toward the city center, the Telegraaf reports.

This labor action, which is held from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m., forms part of a relay protest for better working conditions for the police. The police unions demand that measures are taken to lower officers' work load. Over the past week protest actions were held in the city center of Eindhoven, at Utrecht Central Station and at the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, in The Hague.

The police unions discussed whether the protest in Amsterdam could be held on Wednesday, after two American tourists were stabbed at Amsterdam Central Station in what the authorities are calling a terrorist attack on Friday. The concluded that the action could continue as planned.

The 'lock down' does not mean that there are no police officers at all in Amsterdam city center, only fewer than on other days. This is to ensure that the police are able to respond to emergency situations, according to the newspaper. 

These are not the only labor actions by the police for a better collective bargaining agreement. Over the past weeks they've stopped writing traffic fines, stopped collecting fines, and deleted photos from speeding cameras so that speeders can't be fined. The labor actions also include not deploying police officers to major events, like the Outdoor Decibel festival last month. And the unions called on officers working at the police's information desk to reduce their activities.