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Trade Union Membership Surges in Response to Sky-High Inflation and Successful Wage Increases

Jan 19, 2024 at 5:02 am

The trade unions in our country are on the rise. Several tens of thousands of people became members of FNV, CNV or De Unie last year. The fight against sky-high inflation in particular has made employees decide to join.

Last year, the unions pushed for significant wage increases at the collective labor agreement tables due to inflation. In any case, employees had to be compensated for the loss of purchasing power.

In some cases this was accompanied by actions and strikes, which led many people to join a trade union. And with success: the average wage increase last year amounted to 7.1 percent, which is a historical high, according to figures from the employers’ association AWVN.

According to collective labor agreement expert Henk Strating of CAO-expert.online, the trade union movement has been dealing with a decline in the number of members for decades. Last year, 1.44 million people were members of a trade union. In 1999 there were still 1.94 million, according to figures from statistics agency CBS.

Strating therefore speaks of a temporary revival. “The increase in the number of members is mainly due to high inflation and the dissatisfaction that wage increases are not keeping pace with price increases. Furthermore, many people have the feeling that the actions of the unions have ultimately led to the significant wage increases. “

In any case, the flag is flying at De Unie. A few years ago, the trade union for professionals fell through the 30,000 member mark. “But last year we registered 4,000 new members. This brings us to 34,047 members. The growth is enormous,” says chairman Reinier Castelein.

FNV mainly attracts new members from industry

The FNV, the largest trade union in our country with almost 1 million members, gained 62,000 new members. Young people under the age of 35 and women in particular registered with the union. Most new members work in the industrial sector.

“The inflow is higher than the outflow. Old age pensioners in particular are canceling their membership,” says a spokesperson. “On some days we added four to five hundred new members. For the first time in years, this means that we have a positive result.”

‘We make a difference at collective labor agreement tables’

The CNV reports a growth of 5 percent among young people under the age of 25. The number of members under the age of 44 increased by 5 percent last year compared to 2022. The union does not want to give absolute numbers, but it concerns a membership gain of several thousand.

“More and more people see the relevance of the trade unions, especially young people and the group up to 45 years old,” says chairman Piet Fortuin. The trade unionist expects further growth in the coming years. “People realize that we make a difference at the collective labor agreement tables. Very relevant, with this high inflation. We are also increasingly making agreements about the balance between work and private life. That is something that young people in particular find important.”

According to De Unie chairman Castelein, there is a lot of dissatisfaction among the population. “It’s not just about higher wages. Many people have lost confidence in politics and there is great dissatisfaction in the workplace. The union is a channel to express that.”

2024-01-19 04:02:31
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