University hospital strike cancelled as unions agree to new contract
Healthcare unions and employers' organization NFU agreed on a new collective labor agreement for employees in the university hospitals (UMCs). A third strike day planned for Thursday, 25 November, is not expected to take place. The members of trade unions FNV, FBZ, LAD, and CNV, still have to agree to the new terms of employment. NU'91, which had already accepted an earlier agreement, also supports the new deal.
The unions reported that the new collective labor agreement includes a structural wage increase and agreements about reducing work pressure. It concerns a minimum of 75 euros gross per month extra for each employee. In addition, the minimum wage will be increased to 14 euros from 1 January 2022.
Employees will also get an allowance if rosters are changed with less than 72 hours' notice, a better allowance for irregular shifts, and more rest time after an on-call or night shift.
"We are pleased that UMC employees are finally being heard and that the two days of action and the threat of a third Sunday service led to a breakthrough," said FNV director Elise Merlijn. She is pleased that an agreement was reached on a structural improvement instead of an incidental salary increase. CNV negotiator Aaldert Mellema said they achieved the maximum.
LAD director Caroline van den Brekel and FBZ negotiator Brigitte Sprokholt emphasized that this agreement benefits all employees. "So there is no longer dichotomy between employees. That was very important to us," said Van den Brekel.
A record number of 366 departments at the university medical centers signed up for the strike on Thursday the 25th. At least 10,000 healthcare workers said they would participate. Just like during the strikes in September and October, they planned to run on "Sunday shifts," meaning they only provide emergency care. That also includes coronavirus care.
There are eight academic hospitals in the Netherlands: Amsterdam UMC, VU Medical Center (also in Amsterdam), Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, LUMC in Leiden, Maastricht UMC+, Radboudumc in Nijmegen, UMC Groningen and UMC Utrecht.
Reporting by ANP.