The organising approach, which has proven successful in Anglo-Saxon countries, is being implemented increasingly in continental European countries as well. Among them is the Netherlands, where cleaners ran a successful contract campaign in late 2007 / early 2008. Currently, cleaners at Schiphol Airport are campaigning for steady jobs, travel expenses and respect. Over half the 1,000 Schiphol cleaners have joined the union and they threaten to go on strike next week unless their demands are met.
The New Unionism website features a very interesting interview with Eddy Stam and Ron Meyer of FNV Bondgenoten, two of the driving forces behind the implementation of the organising approach in the Netherlands. They explain why a radical change of course is vital if unions are to survive. They criticise works councils for having employer-driven agendas and alienating workers. Instead, they argue for ‘organising democracy’: “real discussions, real leadership development, and real involvement from a majority of workers”.
Read the interview here. Photo FNV Bondgenoten