Friday, 27 March 2009

Youth fight online over union membership

Young members of the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation FNV who cancel their membership are offered a free membership of one of the youth wings of opposition parties VVD, D66 and GroenLinks. To promote their campaign, they have set up a group on social network site Hyves (a Dutch alternative to Facebook), which now has 130 members.
The initiative is a response to the social pact between government and social partners, in which the FNV is considered to have played a key role. The government intends to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67, but the social partners have negotiated the right to come up with an alternative plan, which should save the same amount of money without raising the retirement age.
“At the urging of the FNV, the government has reached an agreement with the social partners not to solve the state pension problems, but to postpone this to later this year”, the political youth organisations argue. The call on young FNV members to cancel their membership and join one of their organisations instead if they really want to fight for their future.
Popular weblogs Sargasso and GeenCommentaar published the ‘Answer of a young FNV member’, who argues that there is no state pension problem and that raising the retirement age will do nothing to alleviate the current crisis. He adds that he resents the way in which the political youth organisations conjure up a generation conflict by suggesting that the old would lack in solidarity. “There are enough real reasons to blame the old (all the education budget cuts, the idiotic tax exemption for mortgage rent, the eternal fuss about the occupation of the Maagdenhuis university building [in the 1960s], the delays at the check-out of the Albert Heijn supermarket, nordic walking) without having to invent new things”.
Meanwhile, a video has been published at Youtube testing whether the JOVD (the youth wing of the VVD) is indeed a good alternative to a trade union. First, a young cleaner at Schiphol Airport calls to join the organisation for free. Subsequently, his employer calls: “These guys have just had a work stoppage and some twenty happen to say they are members of the JOVD […]. We’re going to get stiff fines from Schiphol and I hold you accountable, this is unacceptable! Could you please give me your address. You’ll be hearing from me!”

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