Hospital strikes possible after failed contract talks

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The unions have rejected the Netherlands Association of Hospitals' (NVZ) final offer for a new collective agreement for hospitals. The unions announced this on Tuesday. They are now preparing for actions.

Employees and employer disagree about the lack of a wage increase over 2014, the distribution of the reduced pension premium, the removal of the employer's contribution to supplementary health insurance and a wage increase of 1.5 percent in 2015. There are also disagreements on the phasing out of flexible workers and the training and development programs for employees.

"This offer does absolutely no justice to the hospital employees, who day and night stand ready for patients", says Elise Merlijn, collective agreement negotiator for Abvakabo FNV. The unions want to step back into discussions with the NVZ if they are prepared to meet these demands and take their final offer off the table.

In a reaction a spokesperson for NVZ calls the final offer good and finds the rejection "incomprehensible". Both parties have 10 fruitless rounds of negotiations behind them. One of these lasted more than 22 continuous hours. There are 190 thousand employees under the collective agreement.