Strike leader: should I stay or go?

14th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

14 January 2005, AMSTERDAM — Lodewijk de Waal, who led last year's protests against government cutbacks, will decide in February whether to step down or lead the country's largest trade union confederation for another four years.

14 January 2005

AMSTERDAM — Lodewijk de Waal, who led last year's protests against government cutbacks, will decide in February whether to step down or lead the country's largest trade union confederation for another four years.

Newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Friday morning that De Waal had already decided not to seek a new term as leader of union confederation FNV.

Later in the day, FNV spokesperson Els Tiemen said this was incorrect as De Waal will decide in February whether to stay on.

De Waal is currently holding takes with the leaders of the individual unions that make up the confederation about the union movement's future prospects.

"He will take his decision partly based on these discussions," Tiemen said.

A new leader will be elected at the FNV confederation conference in May if De Waal decides to retire from his job.

Dutch unions enjoyed a good year in 2004 as mass protests and strikes against unpopular government reforms helped reverse years of declining membership.

De Waal has been a union official for 32 years and has been chairperson of the FNV since 1997.

The high point of his career came last year when the FNV helped sponsor protests that culminated in about 300,000 taking part in a rally in Amsterdam's Museumplein. In response, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's coalition government agreed to moderate its budget cuts.

Earlier this month, the leader of the Christian CNV, Doekle Terpstra, announced he would step down from country's second largest union confederation. Terpstra is leaving to become chairperson of the HBO-Raad, the Association of Universities of Professional Education.

Should De Waal follow his lead and step down from the helm of the FNV, it will represent a changing of the guard in the highest echelons of the trade union movement.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news, Dutch trade unions

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