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Dutch News
Local elections: Amsterdam earmarks €400,000 for ethnic minority vote 1/12/2014

Friday 10 January 2014 Plans by Amsterdam city council to spend €400,000 encouraging ethnic minorities to vote in the March local elections have come under fire from opposition parties - particularly as the campaign leader is a prominent Labour supporter. Labour traditionally has a high level of support among people with Turkish, Moroccan and Surinamese backgrounds and polls show the party is losing its leading position in the Dutch capital. Turnout in the local elections in Amsterdam is usually around 50% and the city council wants to increase this to 65%. To do this, the city is planning a ''specific approach to specific target groups'', mayor Eberhard van der Laan said in a city council briefing. Labour The civil servant picked to spearhead the campaign is Laila Frank, a long-term Labour party member and former assistant of Labour alderman Freek Ossel, the Parool said. Opposition parties D66 and CDA say the money should be used to stimulate all population groups to vote. The Socialists are not convinced by the plan either, the Parool reports. ''This campaign focuses on parts of the city where Labour is the biggest party,'' local D66 campaign leader Jan Paternotte told the paper. ''City council money should be used to reach all Amsterdammers, not just ethnic minority voters.''

Court overturns cuts in child benefit for non-EU residents

The government''s decision to adapt child benefits for families with children living outside the EU to the standard of living in the countries concerned are unlawful, a court in Amsterdam has ruled.
The changes came into effect last year and led to a 40% cut in benefits for children living in Morocco and Egypt, Nos television said.
The courts earlier ruled that the Netherlands was also acting unlawfully by reducing widow and widower pensions for non-EU residents to payments which reflect the local standard of living.
Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher told the broadcaster he is considering appealing against the decision but has not yet finalised his position.

''You receive child benefit to support you during an expensive period when you have young children,'' the minister said. ''But the cost of living is much cheaper in some countries than in the Netherlands. The country principle takes this into account.''
If the Amsterdam court position is upheld it will cost the Netherlands €6m, Asscher said. But the total could be far higher because the Netherlands plans to apply the country principle to health insurance and other benefits, he pointed out.

Electronics chain Media Markt broke law by secretly filming staff

Consumer electronics retailer Media Markt broke privacy laws by secretly filming staff, the Dutch privacy watchdog said on Thursday. The retailer used mystery shoppers equipped with hidden cameras to film shop staff. The company then used the results in personnel evaluations. Images from security cameras were also used to judge staff performance. The company has already apologised for its actions. The CBP has not yet decided whether or not to fine the company. Employers can only film staff using secret cameras if there is widespread theft or fraud and only then under strict conditions, the organisation said in a statement.© DutchNews.nl

''Money and stamp printer Joh Enschede on verge of bankruptcy''

Thursday 09 January 2014 Printing company Joh Enschede is on the verge of bankruptcy and has asked staff to forgo holiday pay - the equivalent of an 8% pay cut. The pay cut has been called for by an outside investor who has been trying to solve the company''s problems since the summer, news agency ANP said on Thursday. A spokesman for the FNV print union said the company had been hit hard by competition from abroad. Other European printers get government help and Joh Enschede does not, he told ANP. Joh Enschede has lost the contract to print Dutch passports but still produces cash, stamps and other official documents,

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