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6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

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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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No social conditions Zuidas-millions

4 June 2006 – Businesses that work for the municipality will in the future be expected to provide work placements or to employ the unemployed. However, there is no intention of attaching social condition to the hundreds of millions the municipality invests in the Zuidas, the development along the southern ring road, the spokesperson of alderman Ahmed Aboutaleb said.

In the agreement (programakkoord) that is the basis of the current municipal government, ‘contract compliance’ is mentioned as a means to create more work placements. The idea is that social conditions will be agreed upon when government work is contracted out. The alderman is expected to present elaborated plans after the summer.

Other cities have preceded Amsterdam. For example, Rotterdam introduced a rule years ago that building contractors must use five percent of the contract sum to employ unemployed people. Every year, a hundred and eighty people are employed in this way, and over half of them manage to keep their job. Rotterdam wants to apply the five percent rule to other sectors as well, such as cleaning.

According to a recent study by the Netherlands Confederation of Trade Unions (FNV), 23% of municipalities have similar arrangements. In addition, tens of municipalities are developing plans. As a result of the new social assistance act, municipalities have a financial incentive to help social assistance recipients find a job. Any benefit that can be ended represents a spending cut of fourteen thousand euro per year.

The Maastricht municipality, that also intends to introduce contract compliance, has commissioned a study of the experience so far. The report ‘Werk maken van werk’ concludes that the instrument does not lead to higher costs for the municipality.

This is because businesses that are faced with social conditions are very inventive when it regards creating work placements or jobs for the unemployed within the calculated budget. It is important though that the municipality has the power to sanction businesses in case they do not uphold the agreement.

The method is especially suitable for sectors with a lot of low educated work, such as construction, cleaning, work in the harbour, maintenance, transport and the agrarian sector.

Amsterdam seems to opt for a ‘soft’ approach in contract compliance, focussing on collaboration rather than enforcement. Also, the municipality wants to invest some of its own money to create jobs.

The report commissioned by the Maastricht municipality shows that municipalities can afford to be more demanding. “Municipalities should not be too modest, employers can be very creative in finding solutions”, the report says.

Last January, Aboutaleb said in Het Parool newspaper that the municipality invests large sums in infrastructural projects, but that still too little is being invested in people. In order to stimulate the employment of social assistance recipients at the Zuidas, he has attached someone at the Social Development Department to the Zuidas project, he said.

However, Aboutaleb’s spokesperson, Herbert Raat, says that at present there is no intention to attach social conditions to the hundreds of millions of euros the municipality invests in the Zuidas.

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