RNW Press Review, Wednesday 2 July 2008
Catch the news in brief from the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.2 July 2008
Take up the job or face unemployment benefit cuts
"A lawyer can be a great strawberry picker" is a heading in today's AD.
According to new labour guidelines which went into effect on 1 July, anyone who is unemployed for more than a year must accept any job he or she is offered. Those who refuse will see their unemployment benefits cut.
The government has devised a compensation arrangement to make up for the difference in salary so that a lawyer who works far beneath his or her level will still make more than a manual labourer.
The new guidelines only apply to people who became unemployed after the 30 June 2008.
In 2007 there were around 100,000 people who had been receiving unemployment benefit for longer than a year.
Trouw interviews Irene Asscher-Vonk, Professor of Social Law at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, who says that the unemployed are being used as cannon fodder.
She says social laws which were introduced around 1900 to protect workers' rights to suitable employment are being constantly eroded. The right of the individual workers is being made subordinate to macro-economic interests.
Asscher-Vonk says: "We are losing sight of the quality of work. We educate our young people until they are black and blue, but after a year, give the unemployed a job which requires no schooling. What a loss of capital."
RSI has nothing to do with time spent using PC
Stefan IJmker's doctoral thesis appears to disprove the conventional wisdom that repetitive strain injury, RSI, is caused by spending too much time behind a PC with a mouse.
De Volkskrant writes that IJmker, who receives his doctorate at the Free University Medical Centre in Amsterdam today, spent two years studying the habits of 2,000 office workers.
He found there are five factors which contribute to RSI: lack of variety in job tasks, low appreciation of work, using telephone and computer at the same time, excessive devotion to work, working during lunch breaks. "Three of these factors apply to the average office worker. There are five times as many complaints when four or five factors are present."
IJmker says he was extremely surprised to find that the amount of time spent behind the computer had nothing to do with RSI complaints.
"Previous research into RSI was always based on personal estimates of how much time was spent behind the computer. I didn't ask about the time, but I made measurements. If you look at the measurements there is no relationship."
IJmker said he found that people who thought they spent more time behind the computer than they did in reality had a higher risk of developing RSI. He says the development of RSI became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Police to tap phones of football hooligans
AD reports that police will be authorised to tap the mobile telephones of known football hooligans. In a letter to parliament Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin says he will seek permission to change the law "if the current rules are inadequate when it comes to preventing massive street brawls".
By tapping phones police can gain information on where football hooligans are preparing to meet, which will enable them to prevent street brawls. The paper writes, "Football vandals who use the telephone or internet to mobilise other hooligans will by prosecuted for incitement to commit violence."
Bureaucrats must be forced to fill in own forms
Dutch Christian Democratic MP Frans de Nerée tot Babberich has proposed forcing bureaucrats to fill in their own forms. "This is the only way to prevent entrepreneurs from being burdened with filling in incomprehensible forms."
He says businessmen spend much too much time filling in complicated forms sent by the government.
The MP says every bureaucrat must spend one day a year filling in his or her own forms. "Then they'll experience themselves how it feels to have to fill in these things."
Stealing patent rights for being buried alive
De Telegraaf reports that a Dutch firm called 'Fun Bury' has protested against an episode of a new "experimental" television programme which airs for the first time this evening.
During one of the episodes of 'Factor Giel', disc jockey Giel Beelen is filmed while being buried alive as part of a "scientific experiment". Under the supervision of a psychiatrist and doctor he spends ten minutes underground in a coffin.
Businessman Eduard Daams, the owner of 'Fun Bury', which for the past few years has been charging people who want to experience what if feels like to be buried alive, says the show is "pure theft".
He says he has a Benelux patent for burying people alive.
The producer of 'Factor Giel' says Daams may have a European patent, but the patent is for commercial exploitation only.
In this evening's episode, Giel Beelen and actress Georgina Verbaan experience what it feels like being in a car which crashes into the water and sinks.
[Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica]