Sunday, 26 August 2012

President argues for militant FNV

The union movement must reinvent itself, President Ton Heerts of the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation FNV argued in an interview in this weekend’s NRC Handelsblad. This is not going to be easy: “We’re going through rough times and we need to make a big turn. Whether we’ll succeed? We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Heerts has his doubts about how the Socio-Economic Council, an advisory body consisting of employers, unions and independent members, is operating: “I’d rather use those funds and people for organising, for recruitment of new members.” More in general, he’s not so eager to enter into dialogue with employers and politicians:
The past decades, we’ve been really screwed after reaching agreements. […] I’m all for the Rijnland Model [in which social partners collaborate - dk] but it’s rather lonely if it’s just you as a union. Smart protests, like those of the cleaners, that’s what we need. At health care institutions, where managers earn more than the Balkenende norm [a norm for publicly funded institutions - dk], put sandbags at the door and let’s protest. Against the big greed! We need to go door to door, street to street to recruit members. We need to become a militant and more active FNV.
The interviewers object that such campaigns are ‘terribly expensive’. “So what? What is expensive? There’s plenty capital here. We need to expand union density.”

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