Dutch news in brief, Monday 26 October 2009

26th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

Labour under fire for supporting new retirement age
The Labour Party's support for the Cabinet’s decision to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67 has not been popular among its backers.

de Volkskrant reports that emotions were running high at a party meeting in Rotterdam on Friday when one woman in the audience was applauded when she called out: "This will split the party".

AD writes Labour party leaders Wouter Bos and Mariëtte Hamer will face a hostile audience Monday evening as they attempt to convince members of the Political Committee (PC) that supporting the measure was a good idea.

The committee comprises of delegates from organisations with more than 500 members.

Labour MPs appear before the 70-strong PC several times a year to account for their actions and although it is purely an advice organ, that advice does carry an enormous amount of influence.

The populist tabloid writes that the unions will attempt to "influence the atmosphere at tonight's meeting".

FNV director Henk van der Kolk told the paper: "I believe the decision will be severely criticised. Let's hope that a majority decides to send the Labour leaders back to the negotiating table".

de Volkskrant quotes Deputy Justice Minister Nebahat Albayrak who said: "There's a 50-50 chance that we'll be able to convince people it was the right decision".

Old boys’ network under threat
Despite all sorts of 'encouragement measures', the number of women in senior positions in business and government remains shockingly low here in the Netherlands.

de Volkskrant reveals an investigation by researchers at Erasmus University found that support for more diversity in senior positions was limited to "pretty speeches but no action". Researchers say that if Dutch companies continue at the same rate, women would only be able to occupy one third of senior positions in 2090.

But it appears that Dutch politicians are going to make a real attempt to break the glass ceiling: MPs will Monday debate a measure requiring companies employing more than 250 people to have women occupying at least 30 percent of senior positions.

However, a majority of MPs said they would not support establishing a quota. VVD MP Frans Weekers said: "This is a temporary measure is designed to boost attempts to break down the old boys’ network".

Trouw reports KPN, a large telecom concern, has decided that a number of vacancies will be reserved for women candidates because "there are still too few women occupying senior positions at KPN".

Trouw writes women hold just 23 percent of the senior positions at the telecom company despite eight years of affirmative action.

Panic after healthy teenager dies from swine flu
AD reports a wave of panic flooded the country late on Friday after a healthy 14-year-old girl from Haarlem died from pandemic A (H1N1) virus.

The paper writes that waiting rooms at GPs surgeries were packed and telephone lines were busy from dusk till dawn as concerned parents attempted to get advice.

According to one out of hours GP service, "all hell broke loose on Friday evening, even though there were six assistants and five GPs working, we were overwhelmed. All eight telephone lines were ringing constantly."

Trouw reports Public Health Minister Ab Klink has called on the Medical Council and the Infectious Disease Centre to assess if flu vaccinations should be extended to healthy children.

Squatters protest ban
Sunday's De Telegraaf prints a photo that could have been taken 30 years ago: a group of young people, all wearing leather jackets covered with buttons, safety pins and studs, with fabulous mohawks and strange spiky hair creations, protesting against a government decision.

de Volkskrant shows another side to protestors. A young blonde woman wearing black pumps, dark stockings, a neat grey suit and carrying a trendy handbag was photographed holding a placard. Her placard reads: "Housing is a right," and she tells the paper that she joined the protest "to make it clear that not all squatters are alike".

Last week, the lower house banned squatting and around 500 squatters marched through Utrecht on Sunday to protest the move. The paper writes that a few people were arrested but that it was largely a good-natured protest.

Burglar protests after ransacking house film was uploaded on YouTube
AD and De Telegraaf report a burglar complained to the Lawbreakers Union (BOW) that police in Drente violated his right to privacy after a video of him breaking into the home of an 88-year-old woman in Emmen was uploaded onto the internet.

De Telegraaf says the Lawbreakers Union, which works to protect the rights of prisoners, former prisoners and suspects, has officially complained to the national ombudsman.

A BOW spokesperson told the paper: "The man in the film said this is out of all proportion. He said he did go into the house but that this shouldn't be allowed".

AD reports family members hung cameras up after a series of break-ins and when they realised they had caught someone ransacking the house, they handed the videotape to the police.

In an attempt to catch the thief, police put the video on YouTube. The BOW said: "It's not clear if he actually stole anything and the police response is out of all proportion to the crime".

Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica

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