Wednesday, 29 May 2019


Empty buses today
On Tuesday there was a national strike in the public transport sector in the Netherlands. A strike to focus people's attention on the retirement age which is being put up to 67 (and beyond) and they want it frozen at 66. Fair enough.

I am a member of a union. I was before I left for Norway, I was in Norway and I have recently become a member again here in the Netherlands. I think it's important as it has done so much for working people in the past and will hopefully continue to do so in the future. 

I drove my bus on Tuesday. On a public transport route. Me and my colleagues were the only ones. We were not busy at all. At some point somebody who cycled towards me made no-no-no movements with his hands. I shouldn't have been driving, I should have been on strike.

The thing is however, I don't work for the public transport company, I work for a coach company and they were not on strike. Which would have meant I would have had a hard time getting strike money. Besides, did I completely agree with what they were striking about?

Well, no. Yes, the age of retirement should not go up indefinitely. Personally I think 67 is fine or 66 for that matter if they do get that sorted. But the fact of the matter is that it will be most likely that I will have to work beyond that anyway to get any sort of decent pension. What with me having worked abroad, I have what they call over here a pension deficit. I am still not sure I will be getting any money from Norway, I know for a fact that I won't be getting anything from the UK.

But even that is not what is causing the biggest deficit. It's the fact that I work for a temping agency. If I work, I save up for the state pension. If I don't work, I don't save. There are apparently more jobs than applicants right now, yet it is still very hard to get a steady job. Which in turn influences my pension, my ability to get a loan, my ability to get a mortgage, my ability even to rent certain homes. 

I also don't know from one week to the next how many hours I will be making or how much money will show up in my bank account. It makes life very uncertain and I am not the only one. Several of my colleagues have lost their jobs (downsizing a favourite reason) recently and have had to retrain as a bus driver. They are at the bottom of the pay grades (I am at the top, which is at least one good thing). They do have mortgages, families, obligations. But no certainty about their pay check. 

I don't want to work until I am 69 or beyond. But I feel that the unions would serve a lot more people a lot better with a fight over temporary work and how long that is allowed. Jus' saying...


  1. The retirement age here has changed according to when you were born. Mark and I were in the 66 age group. I agree, it should not go up indefinitely!! There has to be a cap.

  2. I agree with the fight for how long a person is allowed to work as a temp. We have temps at my company that have been here for over 15 years...that is not temp - LOL!

    1. The temp work itself is fine, it's just all the other trouble you get surrounding it. Like the mortgages and the loans and such. I think we can have three terms in the same type of job before they have to give you a proper contract. But many companies just say they don't need you for three months and then afterwards you can come back.

  3. WOW...this was most interesting.
    I retired from a State University. Our retirement system is
    totally different. There was kind of formula when I started working(it has since had some revisions not for the best)
    if you started working at 22 you could retire at 52 = 30 years with full retirement at 52. After that the next step, which I took, was working 25 years retiring at 62 with full retirement and benefits.
    Hugs Cecilia PS I like your sunglasses

  4. Whatever seems fair now, 65 is plenty old enough. Just my thought, having been 65 once.

  5. I agree with you about unions though I have never been a member due to the type of jobs I worked.

    1. When I worked in NI, I wasn't a member either, but I do feel it's very necessary.


Any weighty (and not so weighty) comments are welcome!