Unions agree deals with benefits, like training, for members only

For the first time in Dutch trade union history, unions De Unie and the FNV have agreed deals which give extra benefits to members, the AD reports on Monday.

One deal, with a cleaning products-maker called PGI, gives union members an extra day off to undergo a union-led training programme. The second, at Amsterdam-based pension company Timeos, gives union members a €1,000 training package.

Agreements between unions and companies usually apply equally to the entire workforce.

‘There is no such thing as a job for life anymore and unions should take over the role of investing in workers and helping them throughout their careers,’ said De Unie chairman Reinier Castelein.

Modern unions

‘The new agreement could be an overture to modern unionism,’ he said. ‘This is just the beginning.’

Employers’ organisations said the development is undesirable and difficult to put into practice. A spokesman for the AWVN pointed out employers pay a union fee of €17.50 for each member of staff they have. This means agreements should apply to all workers, he said.

Employers may also be less enthousiastic about taking on more expensive union staff, the employers’ body said.