Trade unions and Philips cannot agree on a new collective labor agreement. The current agreement expired in January. That is why, according to Patrick Meerts, director at FNV Metaal, it is now ‘serious’. The unions involved have put a final offer on the table.
‘The members of FNV Metaal, CNV Vakmensen, VHP2 and De Unie have indicated that they are done talking. The roles are being reversed’, says Meerts.
The unions want a ‘short collective agreement, with a decent wage offer’. A bid for this is now on the table, the unions have given Philips until 5 p.m. this Friday to respond. ‘If Philips does not respond to this, we will hold action meetings and issue an ultimatum to Philips. If these two opportunities are also not used, then we will take action.’
Philips has been in heavy weather for a long time. The Netherlands will not be spared in a global reorganization either. The company is cutting 6,000 jobs, 1,100 of which are in our country. Nevertheless, the offer from the unions is realistic, thinks Meerts. ‘We are not asking Philips to pull out a lot of money. We are asking for a wage increase of seven percent, while the national average is between seven and nine percent on an annual basis. In addition, the wage increase must take effect on 1 August, and not as of 1 January.’
The upcoming reorganization at Philips is very noticeable on the work floor, Meerts emphasises. ‘A number of people will have to leave and that is already affecting the workload. People are already leaving, they don’t wait for a notice of dismissal and are looking elsewhere.’ ‘Given the workload, job insecurity and the consequences of inflation, Philips must now step in,’ says Meerts.