Sunday, 28 February 2010

As cleaners strike, refuse piles up

As hundreds of cleaners continue their strike, refuse piles up at stations, in trains and in offices. Earlier this week, employers indicated they want to reopen negotiations, but Ron Meyer of trade union FNV Bondgenoten said: “We have been negotiating in a decent way for four months now. This has yielded no result whatsoever. Now we’re in protest mode and that won’t change until there’s a substantial offer on the table.”
Cleaners want decent wages, training opportunities and travel expenses. Last week, cleaners in trains and offices went on strike, and industrial action has since been spreading. On 9 March, cleaners at Schiphol Airport will go on strike.
Dutch Railways has announced that it would hire staff to replace striking cleaners, but after a public outcry over these strike breaking plans and threats of legal action, they backed down.
Dutch Railways claims that it is not a party to the conflict between workers and the cleaning companies, but FNV Bondgenoten has published a white paper entitled ‘Schoon Genoeg’ at the end of last year, which concluded that contractors have a decisive influence on labour conditions in the sector.
Update: it looks like striking cleaners are being replaced anyway

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