Destinations Magazine

Our Turn to Eat

By Stizzard
Our turn to eat

ON STREET duty in Amsterdam, a 35-year-old Dutch police officer bemoans four years without a pay rise. “The economy is picking up, the rich are getting richer and yet we at the police continue to suffer,” he says. Unhappy with new terms offered by the government (a salary increase of 5% over two years along with a possible pension cut), members of the national police union plan to stop all but essential work on September 15th and besiege government offices on the 16th.

European workers are having a decidedly discontented summer. Calls for higher wages are picking up as they sense a recovery. Airport staff in Spain, dock hands in France and crèche employees and train drivers in Germany have been on strike. More are likely to follow. In Germany the number of workdays lost to industrial action has gone up from 156,000 last year to about 1m already this year.

Maarten Keune, a labour-market expert at the University of Amsterdam, detects a feeling throughout austerity-hit Europe of “being owed”. He says, “Before the downturn people were told wages had to stay low to stimulate exports, then came the crash so wages continued…

The Economist: Europe

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