Dutch news in brief, Monday 23 March 2009

23rd March 2009, Comments 0 comments

Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.

Union threats amid talk of wage freeze
Many of today's papers report the ongoing government talks on a mixture of investments and cuts to deal with the economic crisis.

The AD reports that the trade union federation (FNV) is not ruling out industrial action if rumours that ministers are trying to introduce an across-the-board wage freeze for three years are true. The government is also said to be thinking of raising the pensionable age to 67 in 2011.

The FNV is setting up a special action committee, and chair Agnes Jongerius tells the AD: "It makes sense not to rule out industrial action if the proposals actually turn out to be that appalling".

De Telegraaf has a different spin on the story, reporting that the MKB umbrella organisation for middle and small businesses is trying to mediate between government and the unions. The MKB says it would not object to wage rises "under the inflation rate". It is also against possible government measures to rescind pay and conditions deals which have already been agreed.

Dutch construction sector to be aided
Trouw picks up on Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's comments at the weekend about legislation to help the construction sector during the global downturn.

The prime minister said many local authorities were ready to bring forward public works construction in an effort to counter the spectre of unemployment. Planning procedures are set to be relaxed in an effort to get projects underway quicker.

A spokesman from the construction industry is pleased: "Plans for investment are all very well, but you've got to be able to get projects off the ground quickly. I only hope the rules won't just be tightened again after a couple of years," he says.

Another Hyves’ gun poser arrested
Nrc.next covers the arrest over the weekend of a 14-year-old youth who had posed with a gun on the hugely popular Hyves social website.

Following a tip off, police detained the teenager for questioning. The gun was found to be a fake, and the young man was released subsequently.

This is the fourth time in March that someone has been found flaunting a gun on their Hyves page, states Nrc.next.

The police say information on Hyves pages can be ground enough for arrest.

"The profiles are public, and the information and photos are placed by the users themselves, so there's no problem with privacy laws," said a police spokesperson.

Hotels in Netherlands lower prices of hotel rooms
De Telegraaf reports that tourists on the hunt for bargain accommodation are in luck as top hotels in cities including Amsterdam are slashing their prices in an attempt to fill rooms.

The paper says that, because the bottom has fallen out for both the tourist and business markets, rooms that used to cost EUR 250 a night are now going for less than EUR 50.
Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilcox / Expatica

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