The trade unions will probably reject the latest collective labour agreement (CAO) proposal for DLO staff. Whether industrial action will follow will become clear on 15 December, after the members have been consulted.
‘We’re through talking,’ says Rob van Baalen, negotiator on behalf of the Abvakabo union. ‘There’s no movement at all anymore.’ Even so, the unions have not completely ruled out acceptance. Their members have 15 December to vote on the current proposal by email. Van Baalen hopes and expects them to reject it. ‘I’m mainly testing their willingness to take action.’ In the letter to the members, he calls on them to support the unions with ‘all kinds of action for a better CAO’.Tineke Tromp, corporate HR director, does not expect to reach an agreement soon either. ‘I think it’s a real shame.’ She points out that there will be no wage increase at all without an agreement. And issues that have been settled will also have to wait for implementation.
The main bone of contention is still the wage offer. DLO is offering a wage increase of 1.9 percent, compared with 1.5 percent in previous negotiations. The unions still think this is not enough. They say changes in the pension rules means there is room for more. Also, salaries have barely risen in recent years. Tromp in turn points to the difficult conditions for DLO at present. The two sides also have different views on the exemption for older staff from working irregular hours. Tromp wants to end this arrangement entirely because it constitutes age discrimination. She would rather consider whether people can work irregular hours on an individual basis. But Van Baalen wants a transitional scheme. ‘We do that throughout the Netherlands.’ Having spent the past 18 months in tough negotiations, the unions now seem headed for industrial action. Van Baalen has said that any action will be of a kind appropriate for a science institution.