Expatica news

Protesting Dutch unions suspend workplace talks

7 September 2004

AMSTERDAM — Trade union federations FNV, CNV and MHP have suspended collective bargaining talks with the Dutch Cabinet and employers until a planned mass protest in Amsterdam in October.

Federation chiefs Lodewijk de Waal (FNV), Doekle Terpstra (CNV) and Ad Verhoeven (MHP) said on Tuesday in The Hague that on a managerial level all CAO workplace agreement talks will be suspended.

It means that talks with the Social Economic Council (SER) and the Labour Foundation (Stichting van de Arbeid) will be suspended. Talks will not occur from at least 13 September to 2 October 2004.

The announcement took place at a symbolic site, namely in front of the SER, which also houses the Labour Foundation. The federations said the SER is the heart of the Dutch collective bargaining system.

And the federation leaders also urged affiliated unions and members to suspended negotiations at company and business sector levels. The trade union executives present at the announcement indicated they would comply with the request.
The number of negotiations that will be suspended in the coming weeks could extend into the thousands, newspaper De Volkskrant reported on Tuesday.

The union movement is planning a mass strike in Rotterdam on 20 September and tens of thousands of protestors are expected to gather in Amsterdam on 2 October.

The protest campaign against the Dutch government’s socio-economic policies, has been called: “The Netherlands deserves better”.

The unions have been angered by the government’s refusal to lower the age that workers can take fiscally advantageous early retirement, cutbacks to the WAO worker disability pension scheme and WW unemployment benefits.

Faced with an economy recovering from recession and a lingering budget deficit, the government is committed to budget cuts extending to almost EUR 21 billion between now and 2007. It sees the cuts as a necessary step to restore economic stability and government finances.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news