Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 9 September 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.9 September 2008
Trade unions, employers agree on laws dismissing workers
De Telegraaf and de Volkskrant report that the FNV trade union federation, the employers' organisation VNO-NCW and the cabinet have reached a compromise on laws governing the right to dismiss workers.
For years, trade unions and employers have been at odds over attempts to make it easier to dismiss workers.
De Telegraaf's headline reads: "Curbs to be imposed on golden handshake." "Whoever earns EUR 75,000 or more a year will in future receive a maximum of one year's salary upon departure."
Current law gives every employee a month's salary for each year worked. This means that people who have worked for 20 or 30 years receive golden handshakes of hundreds of thousands of euros. The paper reports that the new plan will affect around 750,000 employees. All those who earn less than EUR 75,000 may still claim a month's salary for each year worked.
De Volkskrant writes that the trade unions also benefit from the deal because the cabinet has promised not to make further cuts in employees' rights. Now the cuts "affect only the higher incomes".
The paper adds: "This also ends workers' grievances about the amount of severance pay received by highly paid personnel."
Dutch TV ready for "exciting and fascinating" US election
For the first time in history, Dutch television will cover the US presidential election with an all-night programme produced in Washington DC. De Volkskrant writes that the Dutch public broadcaster NOS will send 25 of its staff to Washington for the nine-hour show. The NOS has rented the entire top floor of The Occidental, "a very chic restaurant near the White House".
De Volkskrant explains: "The four night-time presidential debates will also be broadcast live."
During previous elections, the NOS would cover the elections from Hilversum with contributions from its own correspondents - "a much less expensive option".
De Volkskrant reports there has been some controversy within the public broadcasting system about the expenses, especially since the time difference will mean the election and the debates will be broadcasted in the wee hours of the morning in the Netherlands.
Editor-in-Chief of NOS News, Hans Laroes defends the costs. He says this year's elections are "so fascinating and exciting" that you have to report them from "within".
Dutch using water more efficiently
The Dutch statistics office reports that Dutch households and industry are using less and less water.
"Industries," writes protestant newspaper Trouw, "reduced their consumption of water by two percent a year between 2003 and 2006. The biggest savings were in agriculture."
Households are also using water more efficiently. "In 1990 each Dutch citizen used an average of 47.9 cubic metres per year, 7 percent more than in 2006."
The paper attributes the decrease to gadgets such as water-saving showerheads and faucets, and more efficient washing machines.
Moluccans raise money for Dutch parliament
"Usually action groups want money from parliament, but for once it is the other way around," reports de Volkskrant.
The Moluccan community is organising a benefit concert on 4 October to raise money for parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee A Dutch parliamentary delegation will be travelling to Indonesia at the end of October. There were reports that, because the budget had already been spent, it would not be able to visit the Moluccan islands.
"We are very disappointed that the Moluccans are the ones who pay the price," a representative of a Moluccan group told de Volkskrant.
"Minister (Maxime) Verhagen continues to maintain that there is nothing wrong with the human rights situation on the Moluccas [an archipelago], but 90 political prisoners are imprisoned. A school teacher received life imprisonment for showing the Moluccan flag to the Indonesian president. That is why parliament should go there to size up the situation."
The group spokesman added a flight to the Moluccas costs at most EUR 400 and that they are also willing to pay for the hotel and rental cars.
De Volkskrant writes that Christian Democratic MP Henk-Jan Ormel, who chairs the committee, was "very surprised" about the action. "They should have contacted me first."
He says only seven of the original 11 delegates will be able to go on the trip, so the committee is now planning to go to the Moluccas anyway.
Socialist Party MP Harry van Bommel told the Moluccan group which is organising the benefit concert that they can always use the money to pay for lawyers for the political prisoners.
Philips enters UK erotic market
De Telegraaf reports "Philips is entering the erotic market".
On Thursday Philips will start marketing its first vibrator, which bears the name Warm Intimate Massager. The most expensive model costs more than EUR 110.
For the time being, the vibrator will be sold in Great Britain. It appears that If the British market becomes ecstatic about the massager, then it will later be sold in Dutch stores.
[Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica]