Labour Research January 2012

European news

Dutch confederation to dissolve

The largest union confederation in the Netherlands, FNV, with around 1.4 million members, has announced that it plans to dissolve its existing structure in order to create a new union body. The intention is that the new structure should be closer to the membership and have a clearer profile.

There have been tensions in the FNV since at least last summer, when the leadership of the confederation agreed a pensions deal with the government and employers, which the two largest unions, FNV Bondgenoten and ABVAKABO, rejected.

However, those behind the change say that there are also other reasons for a new start, in particular the bureaucracy of the existing structure. Nevertheless, neither the current president of the FNV, Agnes Jongerius, nor the head of FNV Bondgenoten, Henk van der Kolk, will have leading roles in the new body.

The plans were announced on 3 December and the next steps will involve the 19 individual unions in the FNV consulting their membership about the way forward. It is hoped that there will be a founding congress of what is provisionally called the “new trade union” in the spring.