Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 10 March 2009

10th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

Wage cuts for postal workers
Postal workers of the Netherlands are facing pay cuts of up to 15 percent as a result of the upcoming liberalisation of the Dutch postal market which will put an end to TNT Post's monopoly on sending standard mail.

AD reports of another reason for the pay cut: "postal workers have less to do ... they're confronted with less post and more competition". One worker said: "The news has hit us hard ... the tension is already building."

In its editorial De Telegraaf describes the radical pay cuts as "crucial" and reflects that "unorthodox solutions are necessary in order to turn the tide". Workers can either choose to accept a lower salary or may face up to as many as 11,000 redundancies.

De Telegraaf acknowledges that accepting a lower salary will be "a difficult process" for TNT employees but insists "it's up to the unions to explain to their members that there's no other way."

The unions seemed to have come to terms with the new situation with union negotiator Pieter Wiechmann telling AD: "I realise that it's going to be difficult to explain this to my members ... but I am prepared to do it."

Dutch municipalities fly Tibetan flag
The people of Tibet are getting an unexpected show of support Tuesday as they mark the 50th anniversary of their 1959 revolt against Chinese rule.

Trouw reports that eight Dutch municipalities including Zeewolde and Loppersum are flying the Tibetan flag in their honour.
The paper notes that local official Hendrik de Vries "is not cherishing any illusion that the Chinese authorities are suddenly going to sit up and take notice thanks to a plucky protest in Zeewolde".

He concedes "a local comic has already made a few jokes to that effect" but he insists that the raising of the flag is still "a worthwhile gesture ... a signal to those searching for a peaceful solution in Tibet ... and a sign to our own people that the world is bigger than Zeewolde."
Government debate on crisis measures heats up
Several papers report rising temperatures in The Hague as the three governing coalition parties get down to hammering out a plan of action to see the Netherlands through the economic crisis.

De Telegraaf reports that "tension in the cabinet is building" and quotes several participants describing the talks as difficult, heavy going and tough.

One of the main stumbling blocks is the Labour Party’s proposal to pump around EUR 8 billion into the economy – an amount twice as much as what the Christian Democrats think is wise.

AD sketches the situation as "Labour and Christian Democrats still at loggerheads" with the Christian Union stuck in the middle as "mediator".

De Volkskrant features some unorthodox advice from leading economists: "The best course of action: do nothing." The paper also talks to Gijs de Vries of the Netherlands Court of Audit who warned: "The government runs the risk of letting the symbolic value of 'being seen to be doing something' overshadow the chance that their policies are actually going to work."

The paper sums up his message: "You can prevent a hangover by steering clear of muddled crisis measures."
Anti-paedophile campaigner makes enemies
AD reports on the controversial anti-paedophile campaigner Yvonne van Hertum-Rabbie who is being taken to court for defamation and slander for allegedly naming and shaming Dutch paedophiles on a US-based website.

Van Hertum denies any involvement in the site although it bears the mark of her previous tactics of publishing names, addresses and photographs of alleged and convicted paedophiles.

While many applaud her efforts, she has made more enemies than friends among those who have worked with her, reports the paper.

Former allies accuse her of intimidating and threatening anyone who criticises her, and paint a picture of "a pathological liar and a fantasist who is out to attract attention at the expense of victims."

A former colleague claims "she sees a paedophile behind every tree" and accuses her of "abusing victims herself" by seeking to compile their personal stories in a book, without their permission. Her critics have now joined forces on their own website to tell their side of the story.
Dutch confused about sex and upbringing
NRC Handelsblad reports on experts' attempts to make sense of present-day concerns about children and sex during discussions on "the pornification of society" at a conference of the Dutch Flemish Federation of Sexologists.

The discussion seems to be dominated by extremes: a mum who removes her seven-year-old son from school because a classmate exposed himself behind a tree; and a mum who arranges a professional pole-dancing class for her seven-year-old daughter's birthday party.

According to the article, statistics show 100 percent of 14-year-olds and 80 percent of 10-year-olds have been exposed to hardcore pornography on the internet. Yet at the same time, the 2007 Dutch research shows 82 percent of youngsters in this country were still virgins upon leaving secondary school.

The article concludes the Dutch are terribly confused when it comes to sex and bringing up children. It ends by pondering the extremes in upbringing as a possible cause of problems: "when parents can't talk to each other about sex, then it can be doubly difficult for their children. And if parents don't set boundaries for sexuality, then their children won't either".

Radio Netherlands / David Doherty / Expatica

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