Unions announce first strike at ING Bank in years

ING employees are going to go on strike for the first time in years as part of their demand for higher wages, several labor unions announced on Monday. On Tuesday, participating employees will participate in a two-hour work stoppage. The unions expect thousands of employees to take part in the action.

Strikes are rare in the Dutch banking sector. This will be the first time in decades that bank employees in the Netherlands walk off the job, the unions said. In the 1990s, work stoppages were sometimes staged as a demonstration at Postbank. Its parent merged with Nationale-Nederland to form the ING Group in 1991. As a brand, Postbank disappeared 15 years ago.

The FNV labor union said employees will stop working on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at both the head office and satellite offices. Cliets will not notice it at first, a spokesperson said. The demonstration is relatively “customer-friendly,” though “perhaps there will not be any service at local branches,” the spokesperson stated. The can intensify at a later stage, which may have a more substantial impact on clients.

FNV and two other unions, CNV and De Unie, had already given ING an ultimatum that the demand give raises in line with inflation to 14,000 ING employees in a new collective bargaining agreement. There was no response from ING, which is why the unions announced their labor strikes. If the bank’s management does not respond to the demands after Tuesday, there will be more work stoppages.

An ING spokesperson said that the bank “may be less accessible to customers” on Tuesday as a result of the work stoppage. “Of course we will try to keep this to a minimum. We respect our employees’ right to strike and ask our customers to understand this situation,” he said. The bank is doing “everything it can” to conclude a collective agreement for a period of two years.

Reporting by ANP and NL Times

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