New-look trade union federation should be ‘more democratic’

The new look FNV trade union federation should give more control to members, making it a more democratic institution, troubleshooter Jetta Klijnsma said on Tuesday.

Klijnsma was brought in to try to restore order to the country’s biggest union grouping, which has been hit by internal divisions over policy.
In particular, Klijnsma recommends the federation set up a membership council to work alongside the traditional board, made up of member union chiefs. In addition, the federation’s chair should be directly elected and members should be able to draw up referendums on strategy.
New name
The FNV, which will be renamed De Nieuwe Vakbeweging (the new union movement), has been beset by in-fighting over its decision to back the new pension system. The two biggest member unions, general workers union Bondgenoten and the civil service union Abvakabo, opposed the deal but were outvoted by smaller unions.
Both these unions are positive about the more democratic structure for the federation and are holding a congress on May 30 at which individual members will have their say.
Social affairs minister Henk Kamp told news agency ANP he hopes the new-look union will be strong and constructive. ‘A good, well-organised union movement can be of great relevance to workers, including at a national level in The Hague,’ he said.

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