Last year, 219 thousand working days were lost in the Netherlands, the highest number since 2002. More than half were lost due to strikes in the cleaning services sector, but the number of strike days was also high in the sector education.
Number of strike days varies considerably from one year to the next
Each year, workers go on strike to force employers to meet their demands. In the period 2002-2012, the number of strike days varied between 245 thousand in 2002 and 5 thousand in 2009. With 219 thousand strike days, the number of working days lost in 2012 was relatively high.
Working days lost due to strikes
Many strike days in sectors cleaning services and education
There were eighteen strikes in the Netherlands last year. The highest numbers of strike days were recorded in the sectors cleaning services and education.
Strike cleaning sector lasted fifteen weeks
In the cleaning industry, part of the sector leasing and other business services, 143 thousand working days were lost, i.e. more than half of the total number of strike days last year. The sector cleaning services went on strike because of a collective bargaining deadlock. The strike lasted 15 weeks and resulted in a new collective wage agreement.
Education accounts for quarter of strike days
The sector education was also strike-ridden. These strikes were a reaction against government plans to keep the number of lessons in the first two years of secondary education at 1,040 hours and cutbacks in special education. As a result, 53 thousand working days were lost in the education sector, nearly one quarter of all strike days in 2012. In the sector manufacturing industry, 18 thousand working days were lost due to strikes.
Working days lost due to strikes by sector, 2012
Dick ter Steege and Rob Kuijpers