Steel industry strike begins Thursday
Thousands of workers in the steel industry will go on strike starting Thursday in protest to the employer’s organization FME’s position in the negotiations for their collective bargaining agreements. The steel workers will strike in phases over a period of several weeks, trade union CNV said to NOS.
The strike will begin at ASML in Veldhoven and DAF Trucks in Eindhoven. The protests are set to last for 48 hours and protesters have come up with a creative, safe way to voice their disagreements. “The protesters will drive by and we will collect their strike forms”, Robert Wonnik from the worker’s union CNV Vakmensen said.
Petra Bolster from the worker’s union FNV said to NOS: “The people that are doing the work in this sector do not feel they are being taken seriously at all. Employers do not give them a normal salary, there are no proper arrangements to reach the official pension age in a healthy manner and no agreements are made about the permanent employment of flexible workers.”
Negotiations for the new collective labor agreement started in September. Employers in the steel industry offered their workers a salary increase of 1.1 percent annually. According to FNV, that is not enough to uphold the steelworkers’ purchasing power.
The FME called the protests “very vexing for the companies”. “In these times where we are in a huge health and economic crisis, it is important that we stick together. Striking does not help here”, said Maurice Rojer, chief negotiator of the collective labor agreements.
Rojer said the unions' demands for a 5 percent wage increase are “unattainable and irresponsible”. “Many of the companies are still facing major turnover problems and are suffering from continuing uncertainty. Therefore, a new collective labor agreement must be based on cost savings, flexibility of companies and sustainable employment practice.”
The FME said they are prepared to have a conversation over the wage agreements.