FNV occupied the office of the National Coordinator Groningen for a short time due to lengthy procedures for victims. ‘We won’t let go’

A group of trade union members from the FNV briefly occupied the building of the National Coordinator Groningen on Tuesday, together with victims of gas extraction. “We want to have a conversation with the director.”

The FNV is no stranger to actions for better working conditions and a higher income, but the union is now also involved in the discussion about gas extraction. About twenty union members walked into the office of the National Coordinator Groningen (NCG) at the end of the afternoon on Tuesday, with board member Bart Plaatje in the lead. A number of victims joined the action.

The union members and victims wanted a conversation with NCG director Regina Bouius-Riemersma. They want to talk about the lengthy procedures that people are involved in. “That bureaucracy really needs to be cleared up now,” says Bart Plaatje of the union. “Stop that nonsense.” He also wants the file of the victims who came along before April 1 to be resolved.

Been working for 12 years now

Wim (78) and Aly Zwart (78) from Engelbert are two of those victims. They have been working with authorities for 12 years to get their point across, even in court. “We have already won a lawsuit, but they continue to train things,” says Wim, sitting in the waiting area of ​​the NCG office and waiting for the director of the NCG. Aly adds: “If they had paid us the amount that all those experts who have been visiting us for 12 years have received, we would have gotten rid of everything.”

Another victim from Ten Boer brought a letter with him for the NCG director. The inequality in the village is described there and he wants something to be done about it.

But for now it remains a matter of leaving the letter, because director Bouius-Riemersma is not there. The reception asks everyone to leave, otherwise the police will have to come. “Well, we’re not going to do that,” Plaatje is certain. Not as long as no one from the NCG bothers to speak to them.

The police are on the doorstep for twenty minutes. And eventually an NCG employee comes to the activists to receive their message and to make an appointment for Bart Plaatje with Bouius-Riemersma. All in all, the activists are back outside after about an hour.

‘Don’t let go’

It is a somewhat awkward sight, the union standing up for people’s homes. Plaatje acknowledges that the FNV is not at the forefront when it comes to houses. “But our members have been asking us for some time: when are you going to do something,” he explains the action. The action Respect for Groningen during the ‘anniversary’ of the parliamentary inquiry report, he won over at the end of last month. “Then I heard so many stories that touched my soul.”

He has not spoken to the director of the NCG, but an appointment is being made. The signal has been issued. “This is only the beginning,” Plaatje assures more involvement from the union. “We are a club that doesn’t let go.”