Dutch cleaners announce mass strikes

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Dutch cleaners are planning to stage mass strikes after a New Year’s Eve deadline expired without a breakthrough in deadlocked talks on a new collective labour agreement.

The industrial action by the cleaners will the biggest ever, the FNV Bondgenoten union said on New Year’s Day. The first stoppages will be held as of Monday, 2 January, followed by a big walkout in Amsterdam on Thursday, 5 January.

The union is demanding that cleaners receive compensation when they fall ill. Under the current agreement, the cleaners only get compensation after two days of sick leave. They are also demanding that new workers receive the training the employers had agreed to offer but now allegedly are no longer willing to provide.

The employers accuse the union of adopting an “unrealistic attitude.” The unions say the OSB employers’ federation is not willing to agree to “perfectly normal things.”

The OSB estimates that the union’s demands would cost 200 million euros, representing a 12 percent increase. The plan put forward by the OSB envisages a 3 percent increase worth 50 million euros. The collective labour agreement that expired today was agreed in April 2010 after nine weeks of strikes.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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