Few strike days in 2009

15/04/2010 15:00

Last year, 25 strikes were organized in the Netherlands. The number of lost working days involved was the lowest since 1985. One in three strike actions were not approved by the trade unions.

Very few working days lost due to strikes

In 2009 only 5 thousand working days were lost due to strikes, as against 121 thousand in 2008.

The amount of working days lost due to strikes has varied considerably over the years. In the past decade, most working days (245 thousand) were lost in 2002, of which over 90 percent in the construction sector. In 1995, there were also massive strikes in the construction sector.

Lost working days

Lost working days

Manufacturing industry and transport accounted for most strikes last year

Nearly half of last year’s strike actions were organised in manufacturing industry. During these 12 strikes, 3.4 thousand working days were lost. The disputes chiefly concerned collectively negotiated wages. Loss of jobs, company reorganisations and relocation of production were other reasons to go on strike.

In the transport sector, 300 working days were lost during 8 small strikes. In 6 cases, violence perpetrated against personnel led to stoppages.

600 thousand working days lost in the past decade

Over the past ten years, more than 200 labour disputes were recorded. Nearly 600 thousand working days were lost during these actions. In this period, the sectors manufacturing industry and transport accounted for 7 in 10 strikes. There was only 1 strike in the construction sector, but this strike caused 224 thousand working days to be lost.

Industrial disputes and lost working days by sector, 2000-2009

Industrial disputes and lost working days by sector, 2000-2009

One third were wildcat strikes

Strikes are often related to trade unions, but trade unions do not always authorise strikes. In the period 2000 - 2009, nearly one third of strikes were so-called wildcat strike actions, not authorised by any of the trade unions. Usually, wildcat strikes are relatively small strikes. This also applies to last year, when there were 8 unauthorised work stoppages causing only 500 working days to be lost.

Disputes and strikes

Disputes and strikes

Dick ter Steege and Rob Kuijpers