Police officers in the Netherlands are planning to disrupt next month’s Grand Départ of the Tour de France as part of an ongoing dispute over pay, including bringing the race to a halt on Rotterdam's Erasmus Bridge.
The Nederlands Politiebond (NPB) union says members will hold a protest bike ride in Utrecht on Saturday 4 July, lasting one hour before the opening time trial stage of the 102nd edition of the race.
The following day, officers in hi-visibility vests will carry out vehicle checks on the Tour’s publicity caravan as it crosses the Erasmus Bridge midway through Stage 2 from Utrecht to Zeeland.
According to the NPB, the action will continue “until it becomes clear in the live broadcasts in several European countries that the riders of the Tour de France are at a standstill due to police officers campaigning for better conditions.”
Officers in hi-vis will be accompanied by police vehicles and boats on the New Meuse which flows beneath the iconic bridge, a symbol of the city and which featured in the Prologue of the 2010 Tour, hosted by Rotterdam.
With the structure certain to feature in TV footage again this year, police officers will continue their protest as the peloton passes.
The NPB says the bridge has also been chosen as the venue for the protest on Stage 2 because there will be no public access to it, meaning the demonstration can proceed safely.
The union is not actively involved in organising the action but it has given its blessing and is calling on as many of its members as possible to take part and for officers on duty to let it proceed.
A website, branded Toer de CAO – the acronym refers to the collective bargaining agreement process that is common in Dutch industrial relations – has been set up so participants can register and find out more.
The pay dispute has been ongoing for three months, with the NPB demanding an increase of 3.3 per cent among other things, and the union says that the planned protests at the Grand Départ will be followed by others targeting high-profile events during the summer.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.