61-day Akzo Nobel strike ends with little gain for workers

After 61 days, an end has come to the strike at the chlorine plant MEB of Akzo Nobel. This was the longest strike that the group has ever faced.

According to the unions, the strike cost Akzo Nobel about 22 million euro, but the striking workers got little gain from it. The workers only received a 1.85 wage increase, the same as the other 5 thousand employees of Akzo Nobel Netherlands.

The workers went on strike because they wanted their own collective agreements and a wage increase of 10 percent. According to the workers, other companies in the area pay higher wages.

The strike was immediately restricted by the court, which ruled that the factory could not come to a standstill, but had to operate at at least 40 percent capacity. This limited the impact of the strike as the major customers were still supplied.

The strikers did not get much support. In their own business a petition against the strike was sent around. It was signed by more people than there were strikers. There was also no support for a separate collective agreement in the other Akzo Nobel branches.

Director Ron Vos of FNV Bondgenoten continues to defend the strike. "Those people were right. The wage level there is higher than elsewhere. But Akzo Nobel refused a separate collective agreement and the experience is that the demands existing on one branch are not supported by others."