Union in-fighting makes life difficult for the cabinet: minister

The in-fighting between the 18 unions who are members of the FNV trade unions federation will make it difficult for the government to reach the usual flexible agreements between unions and employers, social affairs minister Henk Kamp told nu.nl on Thursday.

The federation has been divided since its leader, Agenes Jongerius, voted in favour of measures to reform the pension system.
Discussions are currently taking place to set up a new federation.
Kamp said he hopes and expects the unions of the future to realise how important a strong position is during negotiations with employers and the government. ‘After all, it’s the only way to wield influence on the decision-making process,’ he told nu.nl.
According to the minister, the cabinet values the negotiation method of reaching agreement. However, that does not preclude it taking responsibility ‘if negotiation is not the most effective way’, he said.
Negotiation is mainly of value when social partners can agree on what needs to be done. ‘That is more difficult at the moment with the unions restructuring,’ he said.

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