Pay moderation could be reason for strikes?

Strikes in the Netherlands used to be unusual, but the readiness to take industrial action seems to be getting stronger these days. At least if the current programme of industrial action is anything to go by.

Earlier this year industrial action by police officers resulted in a lot of people not being given minor traffic fines and, eventually, a better pay deal.
Strikes by teachers were narrowly averted after a last-minute agreement on pay and extra holidays for older workers. Meanwhile there are still mutterings that the healthcare sector might be next.
Then this weekend, a walkout by around 100 baggage handlers and check-in staff at Schiphol airport resulted in an improved pay deal in just two days.
Postal delivery workers too are downing tools in support of a better salary in the face of low-paid competition.
And now it is the turn of regional bus drivers, who have decided to get tough.
Why are people so prepared to strike these days? Simply because the average worker has less to spend than he or she used to – thanks to new taxes and rising inflation. Big pay cheques for bosses (at privatised industries) don’t help either.
Perhaps the effect of years of pay moderation is beginning to be felt – especially as it is a centre-left government which is being so tough.

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