Netherlands: Metall CBA: Who will not listen, must feel

Documented from Rode Morgen 1 February 2021: Next step: a sector-wide strike with a nationwide demonstration Thursday, January 21 began the relay strike for a better collective bargaining agreement in the Metal-Electro-industry. Since September talks on a new CBA have been ongoing - without result.

In Eindhoven, the workers at DAF and ASML began a 48-hour strike and Fokker, Thyssen Krupp and Scania went on strike on Friday, January 22 for 24 hours. On Monday, January 25 there was a strike in Drenthe at Trivium and Fokker - and in Friesland at Buig Centrale Steenbergen and Royal de Boer, Jongia and De Wulff. The CBA for the large metal industry covers 160,000 workers at large industrial concerns such as IHC, Fokker, DAF, VDL, ASML, Stork, Siemens and Scania. The relay race will continue until an agreement with the employers' organization FME.

The unions are demanding five percent for two years. The FME considers this an 'irresponsible and unfeasible demand' and offers 2.25 percent – barely 1.1 percent per year. A regression, because that doesn't even cover the rise in prices, let alone the rise in charges and rents. Further demands are a occupational program that allows older people to stop working three years earlier, agreements on the permanent employment of flex workers, the same wages for permanent and flex workers and abolition of the youth wage.

The FNV's executive committee did not want a strike, citing corona risk. Executives have collected signatures in the companies for a strike. They came up with a way that is corona-proof: the strikers do not meet at a stand to register, but drive their cars through a "strike street" and hand in their strike form that is completed in advance.

In Eindhoven on the first day around 1300 strikers from DAF and 150 from ASML registered in this way. As a warm-up ASML went on strike for an hour on January 12 hour of strike action, in which 622 workers participated.

In the previous collective bargaining struggle in 2018 colleagues at DAF went on strike for 18 days to enforce an improved collective bargaining agreement. In a number of years, the working class has suffered a major setback such as worsening of the protection against dismissal and the reduction of the duration of the unemployment and the abolition of the current pension system. Workers must continue to fight against deterioration as long as capitalism exists. That is why Karl Marx said that we should not only fight for better working conditions and higher wages, but also for the abolition of the whole wage system - the capitalist exploitative system with its crises, layoffs, poverty, competitive wars and refugees and destruction of environment.


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