Union leaders affiliated to the FNV trade union federation are meeting on Monday to discuss apparent overtures made by the group’s chairwoman to Geert Wilders’ PVV to take about state pensions.
Agnes Jongerius said in an interview with the Volkskrant on Saturday that she was open to talking to the anti-immigration party about a joint campaign against the government’s plans to increase the state pension age from 65 to 67.
‘Wilders’ solution for the pension age increase – an end to immigration, the expulsion of all Muslims and and end to left-wing tinkering – is not mine,’ Jongerius was quoted as saying in the paper. ‘But I will happily talk to the PVV. Up until now they have brushed off every approach. But on budget day PVV MP Tony van Dijck said we must talk. …that talk will absolutely take place.’
The civil service union Abvakabo in particular is completely opposed to any form of working together with the PVV. Some union branches have said they will call on Jongerius to resign unless she distances herself from the remarks.
‘You do not talk with the group like the PVV,’ Peter de Pagter, of the Amstel-Kennemerland branch of Abvakabo was quoted as saying in the Volkskrant. ‘It is a racist organisation.’
Websites are also full of shocked FNV members sayin they plan to quit. Other people say they will join the trade union because of its new stance on the PVV.
Wilders has reportedly taken Jongerius up on her invitation and said he is happy to meet.
A spokesman for the FNV said at the weekend Jongerius had only spoken of a meeting with the PVV and said he was shocked at how that statement was being interpreted in the media. ‘The FNV is a democratic organisation and excludes no-one, even the PVV,’ he told news agency ANP.
According to the latest TNS Nipo poll, some 17% of FNV members plan to vote for the PVV.
The country’s second biggest trade union group, the CNV, said it would not work with the PVV and that it expected the FNV would confine its position to a single meeting. ‘The CNV will not work with grups which want to exclude parts of the population,’ acting chairman Bert van Boggelen told the Volkskrant.
The cabinet is due to take a final decision on its plans to increase the pension age next Friday. It says the move is necessary to help reduce the budget deficit and pay for the cost of the greying population.
Is Jongerius right to talk to Wilders? Take part in our poll
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation