Lone voice calls for strike ban
9 June 2005, AMSTERDAM — MP Pieter Hofstra called for a ban on strikes by public transport workers.
9 June 2005
AMSTERDAM — MP Pieter Hofstra called for a ban on strikes by public transport workers.
The MP for the Liberal VVD party was speaking in Parliament during a debate on introducing more competition in the public transport section on Thursday.
Meanwhile, striking civil servants gathered in The Hague as industrial action brought buses, trams and metros to a halt in cities, including Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht.
Sanitation and garbage collection workers in Amsterdam and Zoetermeer also stopped work. In addition, public service desks at town halls across the country were also closed or understaffed for the day.
However, city councils downplayed talk on Thursday morning of a nationwide strike, stressing that many workers would be on duty as per usual.
Unions Abvakabo and Publieke Zaak are protesting in support of regulations forcing workers in physically tough jobs, such as firefighters, to take an early pension between the age of 55 and 60.
Acknowledging the right to strike, Hofstra said "the right has limits if it causes disruption to society". Hofstra said stoppages in hospitals and power stations should not be permitted as they were "immoral".
His opinions were not backed by any other MP in the 150-seat parliament.
MP Wijnand Duyvendak, of the green-left GroenLinks, said Hofstra's plea reminded him of the strike ban imposed by former prime minister Abraham Kuyper in 1903.
Currently, the courts can be asked to decide on the legality of a strike and Duyvendak accused Hofstra of wanting to sit in the Judge's chair.
Transport Minister Karla Peijs also rejected Hofstra's request to raise the issue of a strike ban with her government colleagues. "Everyone is free to go to court to have a decision on a strike. I don't see any role for a blanket ban on strikes," she said.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news