Thursday, 22 April 2010

Dutch cleaners reach agreement

After months of campaigning and a strike that lasted many weeks, Dutch cleaners have reached an agreement with the employers’ organisations, trade union FNV Bondgenoten has just announced. The cleaners will get a raise of 3.5% over 2 years (they had demanded 4%; employers had initially offered 0% and subsequently 2.5%). In addition, there will be a supplement of up to 500 euro for union members who have participated in the strike and it has been agreed that temp workers will not lose their job because of the strike. Large contractors including Dutch Railways, Schiphol Airport and the UWV unemployment agency will sign a covenant on responsible contracting in July.
Ron Meyer of FNV Bondgenoten: “The longest strike since 1933 has opened people’s eyes all over the Netherlands and has inspired people. This is the achievement of cleaners who are no longer invisible. They achieved what no one thought possible: get the largest corporations involved in a better treatment of the cleaners.”
Cleaner Judy Lock: “I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished. We have our raise, but more importantly: we have a foot in the door. Anyone knows we’re here. Including the contractors.”
More on the strike here

Postscriptum: Until the last minute, initiatives were deployed to keep building pressure. International union federation UNI announced actions at Dutch embassies. The Support the Cleaners Committee sent an open letter to the supervisory board of cleaning company CSU, among them former unionist and former politician Paul Rosenmöller.

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