News of: Thursday, December 08 2005,

Army fills in for striking fire brigade in Amsterdam

The fire brigade of the army will be called upon to replace the fire brigade staff in Amsterdam that are on strike.

About 125 firemen have called in sick after the outcome of labour negotiations yesterday. According to the new agreement they have to give up their automatic early retirement age of 55 years. In the future firemen will have to continue to work, though perhaps in other jobs.

This morning, angry firemen blocked roads on various places in the Netherlands, causing big traffic jams.

The mayor of Amsterdam today asked the army to fill in for the 125 firemen who called in sick. The mayor says this is to guarantee that there is a working fire brigade in Amsterdam. About 80 army personnel (who are trained fire people) will be installed in Amsterdam. The TCA, the biggest taxi firm of Amsterdam, will show them the way, if necessary.

The 125 firemen will be visited at home to check whether they are really ill.

The actions by the firemen are not supported by the unions.