RNW Press Review, Tuesday 20 May 2008
Catch the news in brief from the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.
20 May 2008
Two-man show at Aldi supermarket
De Volkskrant reports on a dispute between the Aldi supermarket chain and the trade union federation CNV, which has taken the company to court to demand that it allow an independent investigation of complaints by employees that they are overworked.
The case was heard on Monday and the judge will rule on it in another two weeks. The trade union federation says that according to its own survey of supermarket employees, 90 percent of staff found that they are overworked.
"Sometimes two employees must run an entire filial. One works as cashier and another must do all the rest of the work."
The director of the trade union federation, Agostino De Giacomo Rosso, says supermarkets are 'undermanned' and many employees report stress, or are at home suffering from burn-out.
The management of Aldi admits that sometimes two people run a filial but refuses to allow an investigation. The firm says it has already taken measures to deal with the problem.
However, in an interview in NRC Handelsblad, De Giacomo Rosso says the measures - providing managers with more training - will not solve the problem. He says: "Training managers won’t reduce the workload."
Amsterdam to ban 'dirty' cars from city centre
"As of the end of next year dirty, old cars will be banned from the area within the Ring A10 (highway) in Amsterdam." De Telegraaf reports on new measures by the Amsterdam City Council to alleviate congestion and pollution.
The paper writes that: "The latest anti-car measures include small adjustments to plans announced earlier. The area within the Ring will be closed to private cars which don’t meet certain European environmental regulations."
De Telegraaf reports that 13,000 car owners will be affected by the measures. "How many other drivers in The Netherlands will be duped is not known. Whoever enters with a 'dirty' car and is scanned can count on a fine of at least EUR 65, which can run to EUR 150."
The paper also writes that parking rates in the city centre will rise to EUR 5 an hour. A spokesman for the Amsterdam chapter of the conservative VVD party, Robert Flos, told De Telegraaf: "The current leftist city administration has declared the car owner a paria." Christian Democrat spokesman Lex van Drooge speaks of "insane measures, which are based completely on quicksand."
The Amsterdam City Council says it will improve public transport, will take measures to compensate the demolition of undesirable cars and will provide needy residents with favourable loans to replace their dirty cars with cleaner models.
However the secretary of the Dutch chapter of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (MKB) in The Netherlands, Kees Verhoeven, is not all that happy about the measures.
"We see that the painful measures such as raising the parking tariffs are introduced quickly, while the alternatives will take years."
Price war in the pill sector
Trouw reports that the prices of many commonly-prescribed medicines will fall spectacularly in June, "sometimes by as much as 80 to 90 percent. This is the result of the policy of health car insurers only to reimburse the cheapest versions of 36 medicines."
Health care insurers say the new policy will lead to a savings of EUR 350 million in the cost of medications whose patent has expired. They say this will also lead to a reduction in insurance rates.
Trouw writes that the cost reductions will be enormous. Pills for migraine sufferers which cost EUR 30 will soon cost EUR 4.
The paper says that for years insurers have been paying far too much for the cholesterol reducer simvastatin (initially marketed under the trade name Zocor) which is widely used. A year ago, 30 40mg pills cost EUR 35. Now insurers are paying EUR 8. In June, the pills will cost EUR 1.25.
However, pharmacists fear the new policy will cause them financial problems. Trouw reports that the average pharmacy will be faced with a shortfall of EUR 160,000.
Sex, money and football
De Telegraaf writes that two-thirds of Dutch football fans would rather watch football than have sex. And 73 percent admit to having spontaneously hugged or kissed a stranger during a match.
The survey of 2,000 European fans was conducted for European Cup sponsor Canon by the British Social Issues Research Centre, SIRC.
However, the survey, which was conducted in 17 European countries, found that The Netherlands was only the 10th most passionate country in terms of football.
Ninety-five percent of Swedish fans say they get emotional during games, compared to just 55 percent in the Netherlands. And 80 percent of Swedish fans sometimes burst out crying as compared to 55 percent in The Netherlands. Eighty-eight percent of Spanish supporters and 41 percent of Dutch fans say they sometimes dream about football.
AD writes that Dutch sponsor ING also carried out a survey comparing the passions of fans in various countries. The average Dutch fan said he or she would be willing to part with EUR 30 if it meant that the Netherlands would win the European Cup. AD reports that only French fans are stingier. The average German would be willing to part with EUR 80.
[Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica]