Strikers at VDL Nedcar show teeth

8 May 2023: Thank you for the following interview with strikers at VDL Nedcar in the Netherlands, which we received from a correspondent of Rode Morgen in the Netherlands. The colleagues are currently on strike for an improved social plan. In Germany, there are many experiences how strikes for social plans or transfer companies ultimately undermined the fight for the preservation of jobs or against a plant closure. In our declaration of solidarity from ICOG to the workforce and union at VDL Nedcar, we therefore speak out in favor of the fight for every job and for the 30-hour week with full wage compensation. The International Automotive Workers' Coordination will continue to stand with the VDL Nedcar workforce in the fight for their jobs.
Following an independent strike by the 3,800 automotive workers at VDL Nedcar in Born, Limburg, FNV and CNV are calling a 48-hour strike on Monday, May 8, 2023. On Tuesday, the unions extended it by two days. On Thursday, May 11 and Friday, May 12, the workers will continue to strike. The Red Morning interviews a car worker working at VDL Nedcar at the start of the strike on Monday, May 8, at the Holtum square, where the automotive workers are gathered at a strike meeting.
Can you explain what prompted the strike?
"As you may have heard on the news, a social plan has been worked out, but we feel that it is not enough for us because we have worked for so long and we should receive higher compensation. That's what we think, but the VDL board doesn't want to respond to it. So that's why we are all here together with the colleagues to strike, to express our dissatisfaction."
You think the whole plant is quitting?
"Yes, what I hear is that the morning shift hasn't been running production and a lot of the afternoon shift won't be running either. From what I hear and see, a lot of the colleagues on the afternoon shift, they're here too. Those are probably not going to run either."
What is your personal assessment? Do you think it's necessary for you guys to strike longer or are they going to come to an outcome this week?
"From experience I can say, that those two days will not be enough, because if we look at the past they always do difficult about it and then we will actually also have to show our teeth, that we are also serious in our demands to put a little pressure on it."
VDL is a stiff company?
"Yes indeed, but we have to keep in mind that if we are not there, the production, the workmen are not there, that nothing can run at all."
They did make something like 300 million in profit last year?
"300 million dividends were distributed to the shareholders, so then we think we deserve a little bit more, than they are presenting us with now. There has been a lot of investment, a lot of money put in and land purchased. It's always all good for VDL itself, but ultimately for us to this day there is no benefit for us, we have no benefit. Of the 3800 workers who work at VDL Nedcar, most come from the region of, but there are also many from Germany, Belgium and there are also a lot of Eastern European workers - mostly temporary workers."
What do you think about the fact that those people here in the region and also from outside, their livelihood depends a bit on this as well. That can't just disappear, can it?
"People earn their living here, of course. Of course it will be quite a blow for a lot of people, a lot of people have loans running, their entire future planned on this to work here for years. For the older people it will still go, but for the younger generation it will of course take some getting used to a new job and so on. People do suggest some secondments to other VDL companies, but that does not count for everyone and that is not attractive for everyone because of the distance, and the like." Thanks for the interview.


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