Autumn Agreement far too meagre a result, resistance to B II* must continue

14 October 2003

Autumn Agreement far too meagre a result, resistance to B II* must continue


SP parliamentary group leader Jan Marijnissen has expressed his disappointment over the results of the annual ‘autumn meeting’ between government, trade unions and employers. Marijnissen sees the outcome as falling well short of the mark as far as social considerations are concerned. “Organised social solidarity is undermined on all sides: in public health insurance, social security and in the public sector as a whole. In exchange for very limited promises the trade unions have accepted what is a shoddy deal for all Dutch people, working or not, despite their earlier talk of the ‘antisocial policies’ of Balkenende II.*

“I fully understand that the unions have tried to save what could be saved, but they didn’t make much of a job of it,” added Marijnissen. “The social conscience of our country, the trade union movement, should have achieved more. This is a result which the trade union movement, certainly in the light of earlier statements, can hardly accept if it is to retain its credibility.”

The SP calls on trade union members to reject the final agreement. The party itself is as determined as ever to act both inside and outside parliament against the plans of BII. Throughout the country local “Save Solidarity” committees are being established. These committees are drawing up a map of the consequences of “Paars”** and Balkenende, publicising the results of the investigations and taking action to improve things.”

* ‘BII’ or Balkenende II is the name given to the government, or cabinet. The prime minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, was also prime minister of the ill-fated coalition which collapsed a few weeks after its formation in June, 2002. After the general election of January, 2003, Balkenende’s party, the Christan Democrats, formed a new coalition with the right-wing liberals of the VVD and the less right-wing liberals of D66 (as substitute for the shrunken LPF-party of the late Pim Fortuyn)

** ‘Paars’, literally ‘Purple’, was the government which preceded Balkenende I. It took its name from what happens when you mix the colours of the two main parties in the coalition, the PvdA (Labour Party, red) and VVD (Liberals, blue).

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