Monday, 18 February 2013

‘Dutch unions have lost faith in lobbying’

In an article in Transfer, the publication of the research institute of the European trade union movement, Professor Paul de Beer analyses current developments within the FNV. He argues that these are related to structural changes in Dutch labour relations. For long, the consensus model has benefitted union members, but since the rise of neoliberal policies in the 1980s that has changed. This is starting to affect the attitude of trade unions:
Since government policies have become increasingly unfavourable to trade unions over the past decades, unions have lost faith in the possibility to influence government policies and have thus resorted to emphasizing more strongly the direct interests of their members. […] Although influencing government policies has certainly not been waived completely as a union goal, there is a strong emphasis on the interest representation of the members and on bottom-up decision-making
De Beer expects that it will take a while for the unions to regain their old strength.

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