The Dutch government has collapsed. After seven weeks of discussing a new austerity package, rightwing populist Wilders decided to stop supporting Rutte’s coalition of Christian Democrats and rightwing Liberals. Centre parties in parliament now have ‘saved the day’ and helped to implement a smaller package of austerity cuts before the September general elections.

At the beginning of February we reported on the militant strike of the cleaners in the Netherlands. Now, after a long drawn out battle, they have won most of their demands, setting a good precedent for the rest of the Dutch labour movement.

In the Netherlands there is a very militant cleaners’ strike that has been going on for more than a month. This is not the first time; in 2010 they were out on strike for nine weeks, the longest strike in the Netherlands since the 1930s. There are lessons in this for the whole labour movement.

About 15,000 Dutch students demonstrated last Friday in The Hague against the cuts in higher education. This was the first big protest against Mark Rutte’s new right-wing government, and the biggest student demonstration since 1988.

The Netherlands has been further destabilised by the impact of the world crisis of capitalism. An already fragmented political set up saw even more fragmentation in last week’s elections. There is huge volatility in Dutch society, as the major parties bend to the needs of capital. Whatever coalition is formed will be called on to implement harsh cuts. The Dutch working class will not allow their hard fought for gains to be taken away without a fight.

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