There are many strikes and that leads to ‘good results’, according to trade unions

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Regional transport is on strike today, as here in Haarlem
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  • Lee Kraniotis

    economics editor

If you have the impression that there are suddenly strikes in all kinds of places, then that is correct. And that ranges from very visible strikes, with garbage bags in all kinds of cities through the strike at municipalities, to less visible, such as at a liquor store in Maarheeze and an industrial company in Zevenaar.

That strike at municipalities was ended today because of an agreement: municipal employees receive an average of 9 percent more wages, the lowest paid more than 13 percent, the highest paid more than 5 percent.

See which sectors or companies have already gone on strike this year and what the result was:

Strikes lead to strikes, according to trade union FNV. “Through the chain of actions, the companies and sectors reinforce each other,” says FNV vice-chairman Zakaria Boufangacha. “Members see that going on strike puts pressure on employers to come up with more.”

“We have never started a year with so many strikes and actions. That says something about the need and determination of our members.”

“We recently achieved good results through actions and strikes at Berry Promens, for example.” At industrial company Berry Promens in Zevenaar, employees receive an average of 237 euros per month, while the company first offered 125 euros. “Other members see this and also want sufficient inflation compensation,” says Boufangacha.

A strike by garbage collectors in Den Bosch was called off at the last minute because of the collective agreement reached today:

Garbage collectors hear about the collective agreement just before the strike: ‘Show longer again’

The CNV trade union also says that the high inflation is driving wage demands. “Inflation is a real financial problem for many people,” said CNV Vice President Patrick Fey. “As a union, we always want the prosperity we have to benefit workers more. But now this is also more common among people.”

He also believes that there are staff shortages in many sectors. “The tense labor market certainly also plays a role. Workers also know: for me there are not just others who can take over the work.”

Yet strikes are not just about money. The high work pressure often also plays a role. “People want more control over working hours, for example, than is often possible now. In healthcare, for example, people often have an alternating rhythm with early and late shifts, which is tiring and unhealthy. Employers have to be more creative to retain people,” says Fey.

Whether 2023 will really be a record year in terms of strikes cannot yet be said. Because the year is still young. So far this century, 2019 was the peak year with 391,000 lost working days due to strikes. At the time, 319,000 employees were involved, according to CBS figures. So on average someone went on strike for just over a working day. Statistics Netherlands does not yet have figures for 2022, but it does for 2021. Then there were 59,000 lost working days, involving 28,000 people.

  • Economy

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