Netherlands: 10,000 protest pro-corporate government policies
17 November 2018
On Saturday, November 10, 10,000 people protested against the pro-corporate policies of the liberal-conservative government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD), which has been in power for a year. The government has already lowered corporate taxes, and is about to increase taxes on basic supplies, such as foodstuffs and medicine. One particular plan sparked most public outrage: the abolition of dividend taxes, a handout of 1.9 billion euro to shareholders.
The demonstration on the “Dam” square in Amsterdam was organised by the trade union federation FNV and its Christian counterpart CNV. FNV chairman Han Busker (annual salary: slightly over 100,000 euro) delivered the opening speech. He declared, “We’re not going to stand for this. We do not accept that the money is spent on the companies and the rich, but not on the people. We do not accept that banks are bailed out, but hospitals are allowed to go bankrupt.”
Recently, in the course of just three days, five hospitals and a labour clinic went bankrupt. Patients were moved out and relocated, which led to at least one life-threatening situation.
“Just a month ago, the government thought it was a good idea to abolish dividend taxes. We, together, protested and this ridiculous idea was off the table,” Busker claimed.
This is, in fact, a lie. The tax handout was included in the coalition agreement of Rutte’s government on the behest of a lobby of influential Dutch companies, such as Shell Oil, foodstuffs giant Unilever, medical and electrical equipment maker Philips, plus the employers’ organisation VNO-NCW. Prime Minister Rutte, who felt “with every fiber in his body”…