Top labor unions warn they have plenty of money to keep calling strikes

Trade unions FNV and CNV’s strike fund is far from empty, despite the many strikes they are currently organizing. “We have deep pockets,” said the FNV. The CNV also said there is “enough” money left. Cash presents “no obstacle whatsoever” to setting up new labor actions.

On Thursday, CNV chairman Piet Fortuin warned that the current wave of strikes in the Netherlands would continue for the foreseeable future. Because of the high inflation, the union might continue the strikes for months until employers come up with higher wage offers to compensate for the price increases.

With the actions in regional public transport and soon, for example, a strike by hospital staff, the FNV is also working hard. The union previously spoke of a “strike storm.”

Comments like that raise the question of whether the unions can afford to keep striking for so long. But that is not a problem, according to a spokesperson for the CNV. She stressed that the fund had been filled with member contributions for years. Inquiries at the FNV also show its strike fund has been built up for years. The unions wouldn’t mention exact amounts.

“Striking is really the last option people have to make clear to employers that they’ve had enough. You don’t do it for fun,” FNV director Marijn van der Gaag said. Putting down work and not going back to work until a collective agreement has been reached is “too much of an all-or-nothing strategy,” he thinks. He acknowledged that the union must also consider public opinion in its actions.

The amount of compensation that striking union members receive also plays a role. According to Van der Gaag, this amounts to 70 euros net per day for the first five days of strike. After that, it is 94 euros a day. According to him, this means that the striking bus drivers will receive much less every day they stop working than if they just did their work.

“Then you can, of course, decide to increase the strike compensation. But they are tuned in such a way that the cash register does not run out too quickly. There must be enough money left over to take action on other sectors,” said the FNV member.

Reporting by ANP

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