Last week, finance minister Wouter Bos announced that Schiphol airport was to stay entirely in state hands, ending a long hard-fought campaign both for and against privatisation.

Bos said he had decided to keep Schiphol public not only because the airport is of such national economic importance, but the government will be in a better position to make sure the interest of locals and the environment are looked after.
So are other privatisation processes also set for the chop in the national interest? On Tuesday MPs will debate next year’s budget for the economic affairs ministry – the part of the government which is busy with introducing market forces all over the place.
Economic affairs minister Maria van der Hoeven is commissioning research to look into the effect of privatisation so far, from the perspective of the man in the street as a taxpayer and as a consumer.
The unions want a third perspective to be included – the man in the street as a worker. They have a point. Postal delivery staff and home care workers are seeing their secondary benefits eroded, as profit – sorry cost efficiency – becomes the driving force.
Not so long ago, Sidelines got post delivered once a day by one person. Now at least four different companies are stuffing junk mail through the letter box.
Can anyone explain why this is supposed to be more efficient and cost effective? Or is this why private postal companies don’t give their delivery workers paid holidays?

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