Monday, October 12, 2009

Row over Wilders splits Unions

Sunday this blog featured a story about talks between Geert Wilders' Freedom Party (PVV). On Monday this story was already overtaken by events.
FNV will not talk pensions with Wilders

The FNV trade union federation said on Monday it would not take up Geert Wilders' invitation for a meeting to discuss ways to campaign against the government's plans to put up the state pension age to 67.

The statement follows a major row over an interview with FNV leader Agnes Jongerius in the Volkskrant on Saturday in which she says she is open to talks with Wilder's anti-immigration party PVV.

'The commotion over last weekend gives the impression that the FNV was looking for an alliance with the PVV,' the country's biggest union group said in a statement. 'A meeting would strengthen this wrong impression even more.'

In the interview, which was approved by Jongerius herself, she says she is open to talking to the anti-immigration party.

'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.'

Resignation calls

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.
What happens here shows the amount of institutional and societal opposition to the new nationalist political contender, the PVV. It wil be quite a while before the PVV will be able to exert power commensurate to their level of electoral support.

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