Amsterdam city workers, including trash collectors, to strike for one week from Monday
Municipal officials in Amsterdam will go on strike for one week starting on Monday. The strike also includes city cleaning staff, like garbage collectors. The trade unions announced the Amsterdam strike during their national day of action in Utrecht, demonstrating for a better collective bargaining agreement. The civil servant strike is expected to cause a great deal of inconvenience for people in the city, said Hester van Buren, the alderman in charge of personnel.
The city workers will go on strike starting at 6:30 a.m. on Monday for seven days. During the strike, garbage collection services will be halted, which will affect both bulk waste and household trash, as well as glass, paper, cardboard, and textile recycling, and organic waste collection. Streets will not be swept, public garbage cans will not be emptied, and there will be no immediate response to calls about trash and litter on the street.
The only place in Amsterdam where garbage will be collected is on the public markets, so those markets can continue. The market supervisors will ensure that trash is cleared at the end of each market day, said Van Buren at City Hall on Wednesday.
In Weesp, which is now part of the Amsterdam municipality, the waste will be collected, but the streets will not be cleaned. Street enforcement teams will be on the street, but they will not issue tickets to offenders. In the event of serious disruptions, violations, or extreme behavior, this can still happen, the municipality said.
Amsterdam residents are being asked to keep their waste at home as much as possible during the strike and not to put bags of garbage on the road. The municipality also wants to postpone the disposal of bulky waste. “Immediately after the strike, it can go outside on the usual day. This way, the streets remain passable, and waste is prevented from blowing into the street, causing unsafe situations to arise or nuisance with pests,” Van Buren continued.
“We hope to be able to sit down with the trade unions again soon, because it is our joint responsibility to reach a good collective agreement,” she stated.
The municipality is also discussing with the trade unions whether one or more waste collection points can remain open. An emergency team is also available, and the police, fire brigade, and the GGD health service will monitor possible dangers to safety, public order, and public health.
“The municipality is making agreements with the trade unions to be able to intervene quickly if necessary. For example, gritting will always continue in freezing cold. Another possibility is loose waste that can pose a danger to traffic or block passage for emergency services.”
The alderman said she understands why the workers will strike. “Everyone notices that groceries and other items have become considerably more expensive. But not everyone is affected equally. In the negotiations, we are trying to arrive at the conclusion that employees in the lower scales will have more net money left over.”
Municipal officials in Maastricht and Den Bosch will strike from next Wednesday. That could cause problems with cleaning the streets there after carnival, which lasts until Tuesday. There may also be strikes and work stoppages in other places, the unions said.
Previous week-long strikes happened in Utrecht and The Hague, leaving trash to pile up on the streets. City cleaners in Rotterdam started their week-long strike today.
According to a spokesperson for trade union FNV, many employees of municipalities’ field services are willing to take action. “That also causes the most hassle, and that helps us ramp up the pressure,” he said.
Among other things, FNV wants a wage increase of 12 percent this year. The union is also demanding automatic compensation for inflation for next year. The Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG) offered a 5 percent wage increase on 1 February 2023 and another 3 percent on 1 April 2024.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times