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Home Dutch News Massive strike cripples Dutch metal industry

Massive strike cripples Dutch metal industry

Published on October 27, 2004

27 October 2004

AMSTERDAM — Thousands of workers downed tools on Wednesday in what has been described as the largest strike in the Dutch metal sector for 15 years.

Trade union FNV Bondgenoten expects up to 20,000 employees to strike in protest at the government’s radical shake-up of the social security system in the Netherlands.

Unveiling its 2005 budget plans in September, the government announced tough reforms of the social security and healthcare systems and the phasing out of tax breaks for the VUT and pre-pension early retirement schemes.

Workers at 150 companies are expected to take part in the stoppage. The strike will last the entire day at most companies. Work will resume at a few companies after a few hours. The FNV said it would be the largest stoppage in the sector in 15 years.

The CNV trade union confederation reported that 4,500 of its members had signed on by 9am as official strikers.

The strike will hit production at some of the country’s biggest companies. Workers at steel producers Corus, Eaton and Nedstaal are taking part in the industrial action, as have employees at truck maker DAF and car maker NedCar.

The stoppage in the metal section is the latest in a series of strikes organised by the trade union movement to put pressure on the Dutch coalition government to abandon its plans and get back to the negotiation table with unions.

An attempt to restart talks failed on Tuesday when a senior FNV official stormed out of the meeting. She claimed the government was not interested in negotiating.

The unions have planned more industrial action in the coming weeks in a range of sectors, including the building industry, the postal service and the military, as well as the education and healthcare sectors.

The FNV said the industrial action would continue until Parliament completed its deliberations on the government’s budget plans.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news