Netherlands - Cleaners reach agreement after nine weeks’ strike - April 30, 2010

After a strike lasting nine weeks the unions have reached agreement with the employers’ organizations on behalf of 150,000 cleaners. The agreement, covering 1 January 2010 till 1 January 2012, includes a wage increase of 3.5% over 2 years, with a 1% increase by 1 July 2010, 1% by 1 January 2011, o.75% by 1 July 2011 and 0.75% as a end-of-years’ payment from 2011 on. The selective strike, each day involving about 1,000 cleaners, has been successful: the unions had demanded 4%, while the employers had initially offered a wage freeze and subsequently a 2.5% hike. Dutch language lessons are to be introduced for all new entrants to the industry ; if they complete the 3 month course they receive a Euro 750 bonus. A fund is to be set up to compensate the strikers for the loss of their holiday entitlements while striking. In July 2010, large principals like Dutch Railways and Schiphol Airport will sign a covenant on socially responsible procurement. A large majority of cleaners has voted in favour of the agreement. Ron Meyer, official of the FNV Bondgenoten union and major campaigner, said: “The longest strike in the Netherlands since 1933 has opened people’s eyes all over the Netherlands for the fate of low-paid workers. This is the achievement of the cleaners, who are no longer invisible” (See also this Collective Bargaining Newsletter Year 3 February and March 2010).




This article was published in the Collective Bargaining Newsletter. It aims to facilitate information exchange between trade unions and to support the work of ETUC's collective bargaining committee. For more information, please contact the editor Maarten van Klaveren, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) You may find further information on the ETUI, and on the AIAS at © ETUI aisbl, Brussels 2009.


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