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6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

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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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Trade union survey in Amsterdam West

26 October 2006 – Are the Dutch fed up with the debate on the integration of ethnic minorities? With the 22 November elections approaching, the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation FNV is taking a poll. Candidate MP Samira Abbos: “I think that it is good that not only the government is held responsible, but also private companies”.

Today, the survey started by administering a short questionnaire to visitors of the Hudsonhof, a multicultural centre for the elderly in de Baarsjes. Turkish and Moroccan elderly also used the opportunity to ask questions about their tax form.

Mustapha Laboui, coordinator of ethnic minority policies at the FNV: “We do this of course because of the approaching elections. But we also want to assess our own efforts regarding ethnic minorities. This is an issue that is relevant to all Dutch citizens; therefore we are also taking a poll among the general population”.

“We want to know if we are on the right track and if we must focus our efforts more. On 14 November, we will publish our conclusions and visit party leaders in order to have a debate with them”, Laboui said.

Samira Bouchibti, number 26 on the list of candidates of the Social-Democrat PvdA and better known under the name Samira Abbos, came to help administer questionnaires. The elections are an important issue to the people she spoke with. “Because people are really living in poverty. They spent much of their incomes on expenses such as housing. The rents have gone up, the rent subsidies have been cut and health insurance has become more expensive”.

Bouchibti stresses that this is not a specific problem of ethnic minorities, even though poverty is very prevalent among this group. “Poverty has no colour. The problem is the same for indigenous Amsterdammers as for minorities”.

The questionnaire asks whether employees should be able to learn Dutch on their bosses’ time; whether they should be offered more opportunities to follow courses; whether disadvantaged neighbourhoods should be ‘locked’ for unemployed people who seek housing; and whether companies should be required to report what they do to employ ethnic minorities.

Bouchibti: “I think that it is good that not only the government is held responsible, but also private companies. An employer is responsible for his employees, and should give them opportunities for career development. In the end, the company itself benefits if employees are doing well”.

It is sometimes questioned whether the trade union movement should be involved in election campaigns. Bouchibti: “The question is not whether they may do so, they should. As a trade union member, I do not always know what the government has in store for me. It is a responsibility of the trade union to educate its members”.

During the past years, a heated discussion about the multicultural society has been going on in the Netherlands. Laboui: “Apparently it was necessary to let off steam. It is good that this debate has been waged, but now we have to get back to business. With concrete solutions, at the workplaces and in the neighbourhoods where people live. The FNV has an important role here”.

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