Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 13:18:35 GMT
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
From: LabourNet <chrisbailey@GN.APC.ORG>
Subject: Amsterdam dockers fight casualisation

Reports from Amsterdam dockers on their fight against casualisation and the attempted sacking of 150 registered dockworkers

By Ron Wiechels, Secretary of the labour-council of the Arbeidspool, 15 April 1997

Hi Chris,

So far we are very successful in Holland. Friday morning 11 April 8.00 hr we blocked highway A4 for one hour and the result was an enormous traffic jam. For about 10 kilometers around Amsterdam no more traffic was possible.

Five TV stations and a lot of newspapers spread the news friday evening and saturday morning.

We did not have any problems with the cops, because they understand the problems. We told the police that we intended to stay until the Councillor of Harbour activities came.

And so it happened the local Mayor came and we finished our action at nine o'clock.

When he arrived we gave him our points:

Our points to the government:

  1. 10% of the amount for infrastructure should be used for creating new jobs and securing old jobs. (the amount for infrastructure is B1 3 miljard for building 2 new Harbours from Amsterdam to the Nordsea).
  2. In reports they are talking about creating 30.000 new the jobs in the area of the Amsterdam Harbour, so they have to think about instruments to realise those jobs.
  3. They have to guarantee the old jobs.
  4. The Councillor of Harbour has to come as soon as possible to get our points.
  5. The Union FNV speaks for us.
  6. Guarantees for the present Arbeidspool (which is our company).

So far there is success with point 4 as you see.

He said, it's no use carrying out action like we did, but it is neccesary to have a labour pool in the harbour of Amsterdam. The only thing is, as he said, it's a financial problem, because the bosses say, we are too expensive.

This action is just the beginning and we go on. Every morning we have a briefing with the whole personnel, 306 dockworkers. They all took part in the action and, of course, a lot of others who were in solidarity. In these briefings I always tell them about the link with Liverpool and a lot of other workers all around the world.

I tell them about the connections on the internet. In the next action we will have banners to show everybody that we are not alone, but that our fight is all over the world.

Tomorrow ( 14 april ) we have an extra meeting 11.00 hr. with our direction and it look likes the parties have found possibilities for our problems.

They come with alternatives from our government (local, Amsterdam). We will see what is going on. As we can't make it clear for all the harbours in Holland, we still have a problem. I will keep you informed and as soon I know anything I will email you.

As far as it goes, we will be in Montreal with a delegation of the Amsterdam dockworkers. But as you know, it takes a lot of work to get this straight.

Still, when we don't have the right results we go on with our fight. We know, it's now or never.

When we turn this into a victory I would like to speak in Montreal to tell everybody we are winning.

With a good feeling for the moment,
(You never know)

Ron Wiechels
Secretary of the labour-council of the Arbeidspool