Union seeks investment contracts to promote job security

Download article in original language : NL9710143NNL.DOC

Job security based on "investment contracts" is a key bargaining issue for the Industriebond FNV, the industrial union affiliated to the Dutch Federation of Trade Unions. The union recently published a document containing 18 proposals for use by negotiators to promote investment contracts and hence job security.

The aim of "investment contracts" is to increase job security for workers within the company and on the labour market (NL9707121F). They include training and education arrangements and address medium-term organisational changes within the company. Industriebond FNV, the industrial union affiliated to the Dutch Federation of Trade Unions, wishes to develop the concept further by monitoring good practice, and then to apply this to each sector of industry, company, department or individual worker. These contracts, by their very nature, form part of a collective agreement, including the conditions for individual contracts. At a company level, such contracts are to be implemented in conjunction with the works councils and trade union representatives. The latter will be provided with extra facilities to enable them to act either as consultants or as mediators for union members within the company.

According to the Industriebond FNV document, the employer must conduct a training policy for all employees that is based on training needs and medium-term organisational adjustments. The proposals include rights of initiative for employees, such as putting forward their own five-year development scheme, and the right to appeal. Workers may be required to attend certain courses. Annual paid days off for training may be saved for five years. Training programmes are financed by employers, and payment is based on a percentage of the employee's salary. Each worker may also be assigned a personal development budget by his or her employer, and the worker may consult career development experts in this regard.

Industriebond FNV is also striving to promote multiple skills and the mobility of workers. With reference to the example set by the Stork engineering company (NL9707122N), "mobility centres" will be encouraged, combining both internal and external mobility, and offering good terms and conditions of employment. Remuneration clauses will need to be adapted to reward workers with multiple skills, and those who successfully complete certification programmes.

Since Industriebond FNV makes a collective approach its priority, individual investment contracts must be within frameworks set out in collective agreements.. The individual investment contract will be a combination of an indefinite employment contract, a training contract and a temporary job placement contract. This means that the employment contract will be detached from the actual job. The union is currently discussing this type of proposal with Philips (NL9710142N).

Finally, other proposals aim to enhance job security for various target groups. An innovative approach advocates the creation of funds to supplement the income of workers who have been obliged to take on simpler (and lower paid) jobs due to age, health or other circumstances. Job creation and training schemes are recommended for unemployed or redundant workers. Temporary workers should have access to educational facilities and, in time, also to employment contracts for an indefinite period.

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