Garbage piles up in Amsterdam city center on first day of strike
In the city center of Amsterdam, the amount of trash on the streets quickly increased on the first day of the garbage collectors' strike. Mountains of garbage bags could be seen on several places, including Oudezijds Voorburgwal, Zeedijk, Damstraat and Jodenbreestraat. FNV union leader Fred Bos said that about five hundred people are participating in the strike.
This is about half of the municipal officials who were asked to participate in the strike in Amsterdam, he said. "That is based on an estimate by the FNV and the municipality," said Bos. "I had thought there would be a few more, but we hear that there are many freelance employees within the municipality who don't dare."
The union's demands submitted to the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG) include a wage increase of 12 percent over a period of one year. The union is also demanding automatic compensation tied to inflation in next year's collective labor agreement.
The number of strike participants is enough for the FNV "to continue for a while," he continued. "The strikers have already indicated that if the VNG does not come across the bridge, they want to continue for longer than seven days. So we are just waiting for the answer from the VNG."
According to a spokesman for the VNG, it is time for the union to accept the VNG's invitation, and not the other way around. The employers said last week that they are willing to make a new offer at the negotiating table. "But the union has not yet accepted our invitation."
During the strike, which will last seven days for the time being, no bulk waste or household waste will be collected. That includes trash, but also recycling collection of glass, paper, cardboard, textiles and organic waste. The streets will also not be swept, public trash cans will not be emptied and reports about garbage on the street will not handled. The municipality has asked Amsterdam residents to keep garbage at home as much as possible during the strike, and not to put bags of trash on the road.
Other civil servants, including street enforcement teams, are also participating in the strike. They will not issue tickets to offenders, but may act in the event of serious disturbances or extreme behaviour, the municipality previously said.
The neighboring municipality of Amstelveen said that everyone who tries to go the garbage collection station there will face strict scrutiny to determine whether they are residents of Amstelveen. "This check is necessary to prevent residents of Amsterdam from bringing their (bulk) waste to Amstelveen," said the municipality. In Diemen, too, visitors to the waste point must be able to prove that they live in the municipality.
Reporting by ANP