22 February 2023, by Victoria Séveno
On Wednesday morning, Dutch trade unions announced that they had settled on a new collective labour agreement with the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG). The news means strikes among municipal workers across various Dutch cities – including Amsterdam – have been suspended.
Cities in the Netherlands affected by municipal strikes
Over the past several weeks, workers employed by various municipalities across the Netherlands have been fighting for higher salaries and more favourable workers’ contracts. Industrial action hit several of the Netherlands’ major cities, including Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague, with this week bringing additional strikes to Amsterdam, Den Bosch and Maastricht.
With street cleaners and rubbish collectors making up a large part of the workforce involved in the strikes, bins quickly piled up in the cities affected by the industrial action.
Dutch municipalities agree to higher salaries and more holidays
On the morning of Wednesday, February 22, the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV) announced that negotiations between trade unions and the VNG had been successful. The employer agreed to a series of changes to the collective labour agreement, including a structural wage increase of 240 euros a month as well as a 2 percent raise for all workers.
In addition to higher salaries, from May employees will also receive a 3-euro daily allowance for hybrid working, an additional holiday day for 2023 and, from 2024 onwards, May 5 (Liberation Day) will be a bank holiday for those working for Dutch municipalities.
Rubbish strikes in Amsterdam, Den Bosch and Maastricht suspended
The agreement is not final – union members still have time to vote on the new working conditions – but all planned and ongoing strikes have been called off for the time being. Union boards also have to give final approval, but this isn’t expected to happen until April 6 at the earliest.
Negotiators from the VNG and FNV have expressed their satisfaction with the proposed deal. “Our members have been striking in the streets in recent weeks. No one in the Netherlands will have missed this,” the FNV’s Marieke Manschot said. “Thanks to this proposed agreement, employees in the lowest scales will receive a substantial wage increase, which they desperately need to make ends meet in these financially difficult times.”
If approved, the new agreement will be in effect for a one-year period, starting retroactively from January 2, 2023 and lasting until January 1, 2024, and applies to 19.000 workers.
Thumb: Wut_Moppie via Shutterstock.com.