Call to Fly the Dutch Flag Upside Down: Bonairean Union Leader Demands Action for Social Minimum after 13 Years of Struggle

Abdul (full right), is disappointed by the lack of fast action. Photo: ABC Online Media

KRALENDIJK – Former union leader and advisor to the General Federation of Bonairean Workers (AFBW) is urging residents of the island to fly the Dutch flag upside down until the Dutch Cabinet finally establishes an acceptable social minimum.

The battle to determine the social minimum has been ongoing for 13 years. Various committees and experts have examined the issue, but successive governments have refused to act on the research findings.

Abdul, one of the organizers of last week’s major protest march on the island, is dismayed by the lack of firm commitments from the Netherlands. “As a representative of the AFBW, I call for the Dutch flag to be flown upside down to demonstrate our dissatisfaction. I feel disappointed because the Rutte Cabinet doesn’t seem to want to ensure an increase in the social minimum by January next year. Let’s show the Netherlands how dissatisfied we are. We will continue to do this until the Cabinet finally addresses this issue properly. That’s my proposal,” said the union leader during a meeting with the local press.


Abdul is not the only one expressing disappointment in the Dutch reluctance. The island council also showed almost cynicism in a meeting last week with members of the Thodé Commission, which is conducting research on the desired level of the social minimum.

Although State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen said to have been impressed by the scale of the protest demonstration, she also stated that she deemed the implementation of the new social minimum by January 2024 too ambitious.

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