Chairman Henk van der Kolk of FNV Bondgenoten (the largest Dutch private sector union) has told het Parool that he wants his union to take a ‘radically different’ course. He says that young people and people working in IT do not feel that their needs are addressed in the union’s collective agreements and that they primarily want good services and representation.
According to Van der Kolk, the trade union movement should not look down upon giving support and advice to people with flexible contracts, on piecework, or without a guaranteed number of working hours. “People accept this kind of arrangements. Then we should not tell them not to”.
The emphasis on services seems to be at odds with the ‘organising’ approach, characterised by workers fighting collectively for their rights. However, an FNV Bondgenoten spokesperson says that there is no intention to scale down efforts on this terrain.
A recent FNV Bondgenoten organising campaign in the cleaning sector ended in a victory and in the near future, a large campaign in the retail sector will be launched. Organisers are also active in agriculture and post delivery. Incidentally, the main demand of self-employed postmen is an employment contract instead of piecework.