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11/1 Jurists want to stay in Oudemanhuispoort

8/2 Mayor’s portrait

8/2 Websites for social cohesion

7/2 Spreading tourism proceeds with difficulty

7/2 GroenLinks on districts: Be a man

6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

5/2 The truth about integration

4/2 Wilders has little support on Amsterdam

3/2 Elite involved in neighbourhood

2/2 Johnnie Walker avoids taxes in Amsterdam

1/2 Rotterdam to tinker with district councils as well

31/1 Wooden rowing boats to disappear from Amstel

31/1 ZeeburgTV launched

27/1 Privacy activists to mess up loyalty card system

27/1 A few were still coughing, but that was an act

27/1 Chrisis in de Baarsjes

26/1 Youth have positive view of districts

24/1 Action groups call for Carmel and Jaffa boycott

24/1 PvdA members dismiss plan for districts

23/1 KLM takes on crisis with new uniform

23/1 District office not squatted

21/1 Merge districts

20/1 Closing squat bar Vrankrijk not necessary

20/1 Cleaners welcome new Schiphol director

18/1 Palestine at the Jewish Historical Museum

18/1 What is the right size for a district?

17/1 PvdA Oost against fewer districts

16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

15/1 Bait bike leads to arrest

14/1 Youth for Christ to republish vacancies

13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

13/1 New Youth for Christ contoversy

11/1 Social cohesion initiative raises eyebrows

10/1 Fewer districts in 2010

10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

9/1 Supermarket coupon fraud thwarted

9/1 I Amsterdam must remain exclusive

8/1 Use term Apartheid in every discussion

8/1 No city kiosk in Amsterdam yet

7/1 Snow

7/1 Fatima Elatik to run Zeeburg

7/1 Municipal managers to return to shop floor

4/1 Police: take photo of strange people

3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

1/1 Thousands to protest against attacks on Gaza

1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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Rights for the undocumented

28 May 2006 – The undocumented are in a difficult position, but they are not entirely without rights. Last Wednesday, the booklet Basic Rights for the Undocumented was presented in Akantes. FNV Bondgenoten, the largest trade union in the Netherlands, intends to stand up for undocumented workers, national board member Anja Jongbloed said.

“It seems almost a contradiction in terms to speak of the rights of the undocumented”, Rian Ederveen said. Ederveen is a representative of LOS, a national expertise centre on the undocumented. “For many people, the fact that they are illegal residents implies automatically that they have no rights”.

“However, that attitude often changes when people personally get to know undocumented persons. For example, when it regards a coworker, or a friend of your child”.

While the legal position of the undocumented is weak, they do have certain rights, for example regarding their position as a tenant or as an employee. They are also entitled to urgent medical care.

For those who provide services to the undocumented, LOS, in collaboration with the Illegal Workers Support Committee (Okia) and the Searchweb Foundation, compiled a booklet that describes which rights the undocumented have. In addition, a campaign will be started to put the issue higher on the agenda.

Jongbloed explained that the position of labour migrants is a difficult issue within the trade union movement. “Many members are afraid that their jobs are at stake. So why is the trade union going to help these people, they ask themselves”.

As part of the ‘Equal work, equal pay’ campaign, this issue was extensively debated with union members. “In this way, we were able to create a better understanding among our members of the position of immigrants”.

The campaign aims to fight exploitation of for example Polish immigrants. The idea behind it is that the exploitation of one group will ultimately harm all workers.

In the future, the campaign should also address the situation of undocumented workers, Jongbloed said. She also wants the union to provide these workers with information about their rights, for example at local trade union centres.

Within the FNV, Jongbloed is going to promote the point of view that the Labour Inspection must not be involved with fighting illegal work and illegal residence. Workers who have complaints about labour conditions must be able to call in the Inspection without fear of being deported as a result.

Why this is important, was shown by an example provided by Okia’s Marijke Bijl. An undocumented worker who had to work under high pressure had an accident with a machine for wrapping cucumbers, which cost him a finger.

Bijl contacted three regional offices of the Labour Inspection to ask how they might help this man. They were interested in investigating the case, but then the man would have to report to the Inspection.

Not only would he run the risk of being deported himself, he would also endanger his coworkers who were still working at the site. The Labour Inspectors understood that this was a problem, but were unable to think of a solution.

During the well-attended meeting, there were further presentations by the Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers and the Legal Advice Centre (Juridisch Loket).

LOS, Okia and Searchweb will distribute the basic rights booklet among support groups, immigrants’ organisations and other organisations. Further, they will start a campaign to investigate what problems arise when the undocumented want to exercise their rights.

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