Promised work placements not delivered
18 September 2006 – The ZuiderAmstel
district is closing an important deal with ISS, but has made no
agreement on work placements for students to be provided by the
company. Earlier, the district did promise that such agreements
would be sought with companies that it does business with, the Social-Democrat
PvdA party says. Tomorrow night, a decision will be made.
Two weeks ago, the Socialist Party (SP) walked out of a council
meeting in protest against the confidential nature of the discussion
of the management of the Binnenhof centre. The SP accused the district
of back room politics and of favouritism regarding ‘one of
Europe’s largest multinationals’.
According to Alexander Poels, spokesperson of District Chairman
Duco Adema, this is ‘yet another example of the SP saying
things that are not true’.
The Binnenhof is a new building housing schools and social welfare
organisations. In addition, ISS gets to rent out 45% of the building
on a commercial basis. The company will have to engage in ‘marketing
and promotion’ in order to make the exploitation commercially
viable, according to Poels.
During an interim period, ISS will not be charged the full rent.
The SP sees this as subsidizing a multinational. According to the
district chairman’s spokesperson, however, this solution was
chosen because the financial risks for ISS would be too high.
Poels says that the contract was awarded on the basis of a European
tender. Companies would not have been very interested in the contract.
According to Poels, the reason is that they had doubts whether any
money could be made. He says that he is not at liberty to disclose
how much ISS will be paid.
JOOP VAN DEN ENDE
The district did not make agreements with ISS on providing work
placements, Poels says. PvdA representative Estella Heesen says
that the district has earlier promised the council that agreements
on work placements will be sought whenever major deals are made
Incidentally, the district does have programmes to create work
placements. This is done in collaboration with Joop van den Ende,
a school and the Miranda swimming pool. Van den Ende is building
a theatre at the nearby Zuidas.
Earlier this year, a poll
commissioned by News from Amsterdam showed that 86% of Amsterdammers
find that companies that work for the municipality should be required
to provide work placements. Alderman Ahmed Aboutaleb has announced
that he will present a plan after the summer.
The ZuiderAmstel GroenLinks (green) party is concerned that the
Binnenhof will be too expensive for volunteer organisations. Representative
Wanda Pelt says that already there are organisations that have decided
not to use the centre. Poels says he does not share this concern.
Social organisations pay a non-commercial rent covering the costs,
and their rent will be increased gradually. In addition, organisations
that get into trouble can apply for a subsidy.
According to Pelt, however, there is a lot of confusion, for example
about the rent organisations would have to pay. She is working on
a motion asking not to increase the rent for a year.
Further, she wants that the district looks at alternatives to the
commercial exploitation by ISS. In its place, participating organisations
should be encouraged to collaborate and to let volunteers help with
the management of the building. In the past, this was the case too.
ISS is primarily known as the largest cleaning company in the world.
The multinational employs 350,000 people in almost 50 countries,
including over 20,000 in the Netherlands. Last June, FNV Bondgenoten
along with British fellow trade unionists protested at the ISS headquarters
in Copenhagen to demand a better pay for cleaners.
CORRECTION: in the original version
of this article, spokesperson Poels' name was spelled incorrectly.
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