22 April 2010
For years, ongoing computerisation across society has shrunk the postal market (TN0712017S ). Nonetheless, this market was deregulated completely in the Netherlands with effect from 1 April 2009. However, the cabinet only agreed to this on condition that the new entrants, Sandd and SelektMail, allow their employees to be covered by a collective agreement as opposed to working on the basis of a piece rate. This was negotiated because studies show that the latter arrangement sometimes leads to wages below the statutory minimum. In preparation for deregulation of the postal market, Sandd and SelektMail therefore reached a collective agreement in November 2008 with trade unions affiliated to the Dutch Trade Union Federation (Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging, FNV ) – the Allied Unions (FNV Bondgenoten ) and Abvakabo FNV  – allowing for an initial phased approach (*NL0904029I* , *NL0807029I* ). With effect from 1 October 2012, at least 80% of all postal delivery workers must be working in permanent positions at both companies. Agreement was reached with the trade unions on how this percentage would be achieved in phases. The first target of 14% was due to be attained by 1 April 2010.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/erm/comparative-information/representativeness-of-the-european-social-partner-organisations-post-and-courier-services  http://www.fnv.nl/  http://www.fnvbondgenoten.nl/  http://www.abvakabofnv.nl/  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/green-light-for-deregulated-postal-services-market  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/collectively-agreed-wages-up-3-in-2008
15 March 2010
On average, the economic crisis had a limited impact on collective wage increases in the Netherlands in 2009. However, considering the wage increases on a quarterly basis produces a different picture. While collectively agreed wages were still 3.7% higher in the first quarter of 2009, they had dipped to 2.4% by the fourth quarter of 2009. Some 42% of the collectively agreed wage increases in the fourth quarter of 2009 derived from collective agreements closed in the course of the year. It appears from this result that the economic crisis did indeed have a marked impact on wage levels.
12 March 2007
The unemployment benefit systems were established at quite different times in the various European countries. In the new Member States, these systems are a fairly recent phenomenon. In some countries, the role of employees and employers in the system has remained of major importance, while in others this function has partly or fully been taken over by the state. This comparative study examines the different forms of unemployment benefit systems, the degree of social partner involvement in various countries, and the consequences of these forms of involvement. The study covers 13 of the 15 ‘old’ EU Member States except Portugal and Luxembourg, as well as a sample of the new Member States – Cyprus, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia – and also includes Norway.
29 June 2005
In April 2005, the Netherlands' tripartite Social and Economic Council (SER) issued a unanimous recommendation, requested by the government, on reform of the Unemployment Insurance Act (WW). Subsequently, the government announced that it would be implementing the recommendation. virtually in its entirety. The unemployment insurance system will thus be reformed, for example by cutting the maximum period of benefit entitlement and tightening the rules on the previous period of employment required. At the same time, there will be greater emphasis on prevention of unemployment, reintegration back into work and activation of unemployed people, along with changes to dismissals law.
14 May 2005
In recent years, labour market developments have altered the demand for labour. Increasingly, employers are looking for adaptable workers, with more 'transversal' and 'relational' competences. The nature of skills required to be considered efficient in a job has thus evolved. In this situation, there is a growing risk of exclusion among unemployed workers whose profiles do not match the job characteristics needed, while the low-skilled or unskilled workforce is more at risk of unemployment.
31 March 2005
On 18 February 2005, the Social and Economic Council issued a unanimous recommendation on the simplification of the Working Hours Act. The basic premise is to combine a good level of protection with sufficient space for flexibility.
13 February 2005
In December 2004, the Lower House of the Dutch parliament adopted a legislative proposal that amends the manner in which occupational health services are organised. There will be far-reaching liberalisation of the occupational health services market, with employee participation playing a central role in arranging provision. The change also responds to a ruling issued in May 2003 by the European Court of Justice concerning the obligation on employers to give priority to in-house expertise in organising preventive health and safety measures. The new system is highly complex.
13 January 2005
In October 2004, the Dutch government asked the tripartite Social and Economic Council (SER) to issue a recommendation on suggested changes to the 1998 Working Conditions Act, which governs health and safety at work. The government's premise is that primary responsibility for ensuring good working conditions rests within companies themselves and that more leeway must thus be given to employers and employees to develop this responsibility. It therefore proposes deregulation and the promotion of self-regulation, with special attention to the position of small and medium-sized enterprises. The social partners have differing views on the changes suggested by the government.
07 December 2004
The Dutch government and the social partners concluded a new 'social agreement' on 5 November 2004, against a background of wide-scale trade union protests. The 'autumn agreement' contains an almost complete socio-economic agenda for the years ahead, covering topical issues such as early retirement and 'life-span leave' arrangements, occupational disability insurance and unemployment insurance. Controversy surrounding wage moderation has also been clarified by the agreement. Commentators see the agreement as reflecting an explicit choice on the part of the government to cooperate with the social partners, following a year of very cool relations.
09 November 2004
Consultations between the government and the social partners in May-June 2004 came unstuck (NL0407101N ) on the issue of early retirement and a proposed 'life-span leave' scheme (levensloopregeling) enabling workers greater scope to save and manage periods of time off over their careers (NL0304103F ). Subsequently, the trade union movement announced its intention to engage in industrial action in the course of autumn in a bid to underscore its demands (NL0409102N  and NL0410101N ). A large-scale union demonstration against the government's policy was held in Amsterdam on 2 October 2004 - attended by 300,000 people - followed by rotating strikes in different sectors. In the meantime, however, talks between the government and the social partners were resumed, which led to the conclusion of a 'social agreement' during the night of 5-6 November 2004. Both the government and the social partners see the achievement of an agreement as at least as important as its content.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/industrial-action-and-end-to-pay-freeze-loom-following-early-retirement-deadlock  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/ser-to-advise-government-on-an-integrated-lifelong-working-time-and-leave-scheme  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/unions-launch-protest-action-against-government-policy  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/government-plans-for-2005-meet-fierce-resistance