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10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

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1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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‘Don’t cut costs at the expense of traffic wardens’

14 March 2008 - Municipality and districts want to save one million euro by partly privatising the Stadstoezicht Department and having traffic wardens covered by a cheaper collective agreement. PvdA ZuiderAmstel intends to foil this plan.

Last week, forty traffic wardens handed out geraniums to city council members as a protest against the plans. They are afraid that their conditions of employment will deteriorate or that they will be forced to ‘sit behind the geraniums’ - a Dutch expression meaning to sit at home doing nothing.

Municipality and districts want to cut costs because Stadstoezicht’s costs have risen, partly as a result of the welfare agency (DWI) being unable to provide sufficient employees with subsidised jobs. DWI itself wants to cut costs and therefore tries to reduce the number of people with subsidised jobs.

District council member Daniel García Soto (PvdA) from ZuiderAmstel says the cuts must not be carried out at the expense of the traffic wardens. He wants a guarantee that current staff will be employed by the new organisation without their conditions of employment deteriorating.

García Soto received broad support in the district council, but not from the VVD. “Only recently, the VVD had a lot to say about people with low income suffering as a result of the municipal car policy, but their social concern now seems to have vanished”, García Soto said.

He is going to approach colleagues in other districts to see whether they are willing to join ZuiderAmstel in its decision.

In February, alderwoman Carolien Gehrels invited district politicians for drinks to celebrate the privatisation of the traffic wardens, at a time when the decision to do so still had to be made. Responding to questions from Maureen van der Pligt (SP), she said such a celebration was not inappropriate. “The Stadstoezicht Department is going through great changes. The proper procedures are being followed”.

Image: Alderwoman Gehrels receives a geranium as well (photo SP)


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