Fewer strike actions in 2018

© Hollandse Hoogte / Joris van Gennip
In 2018, Dutch employees went on strike 28 times, against 32 times in the previous year. The number of working days lost was 67 thousand less than in 2017. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on newly released figures.

Since 1999, there have only been more strike actions in 2006 and 2017. In the latter year, there were 32 strikes, the highest number in thirty years’ time. The number of short strikes (less than one day) was the same in 2017 and 2018, namely 6. Actions lasting one to five working days and those lasting longer went down in number: both by 2, to 5 and 17 respectively. Work stoppages mainly occurred in the second quarter (12 strikes) and in the third quarter (11 strikes).

Labour strikes
JaarNumber of strikes
199924
200023
200116
200216
200314
200412
200528
200631
200720
200821
200925
201021
201117
201218
201324
201425
201527
201625
201732
201828

Fewer strike days and fewer employees

Last year, 239 thousand working days were lost as a result of labour strikes. This was 306 thousand in the previous year, the highest number in the past two decades. In 2002 as well, more days were lost than in 2018. Last year, around 34 thousand employees were involved in labour strikes on average, versus 147 thousand in 2017.

Working days lost due to strikes (x 1,000)
JaarLost working days
199975.8
20009.4
200145.1
2002245.5
200315
200462.2
200541.7
200615.8
200726.4
2008120.6
20094.6
201059.2
201122
2012219.4
201319.4
201440.9
201547.6
201619.2
2017306.3
2018239.1

More days lost in manufacturing and transport

Employees in manufacturing and in the transport and storage sector went on strike most often, namely 7 and 10 times respectively (13 and 12 times one year previously). The number of working days lost in manufacturing stood at approximately 54 thousand, up by 44 thousand compared to 2017. The transport and storage sector suffered 35 thousand lost days, a year-on-year increase of almost 33 thousand. The largest strike action took place in the education sector.

All strikes supported by trade unions

All strike actions were supported by the trade unions. The main reason to go on strike was because of collective bargaining issues, which was the case in 6 out of 10 strikes. In 14 percent of the actions, wage demands motivated employees to down tools and nearly 11 percent of the cases were related to other issues beyond the scope of the collective labour agreement.

28 percent of employees dissatisfied with salary

The Netherlands Working Conditions Survey (NEA) conducted by CBS and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) shows that 3 out of 10 employees were dissatisfied with their salary in 2018. Employees working in education, the service sector and in the health and welfare sector were least satisfied with their salary, i.e. 36, 32 and 32 percent respectively. Managers were most satisfied: 83 percent were (very) happy with their salary.

Salary satisfaction, 2018 (% of employees aged 15 to 74 yrs)
 DissatisfiedSatisfiedVery satisfied
Total285814
Occupational class
Service sector365410
Other355412
Health and welfare325810
Education325711
Commercial occupations305614
Transport and logistics305812
Creative and linguistic occupations305614
Public administration, security and legal286012
Technical occupations286012
Agriculture276012
Business and administrative occupations236017
ICT196021
Managers175627
Source: CBS, TNO