Dutch cleaners’ strike

In this video from Britain, British trade unionists congratulate Dutch cleaners with their victory in the 2010 strike.

From eurolefty blog in the Netherlands:

Dutch cleaners begin series of national actions


Cleaners across The Netherlands have begun what promises to be the largest scale industrial action in their history.

The workers demands are based on what they are calling their Respect agenda, which calls for the same rights as workers in others sectors, especially with regard to workload, sick pay, training for new workers, and travel costs.

Khadija Tahiri, who works as a hospital cleaner and is the elected president of the Union of Cleaners is quoted on the FNV Bondgenoten website as saying:

“Sick pay, enough time to do the work and a bit more respect, is that really too much to ask?”

“We’re not asking for bonuses or mountains of cash, but just everyday things, such as enough time to our work and keep hospitals, trains and schools clean, or to be paid when we get ill. To be treated with respect. For most people in The Netherlands it’s the most normal thing in the world. Now we are going to force the issue.”

“We are not only going to talk to the bosses, but especially the big clients, such as Phillips,

sic; Philips, as written correctly in the Dutch original text on the FNV Bondgenoten site

the Inland Revenue and the banks. They want to pay next to nothing and expect [to] get miracles for an impossibly low price. They’ve created a fairy-tale world where the same room is cleaned for less money each year. This imaginary world comes at the cost of our work and our health. We are going to break through that imaginary world.”

Talks to reach an agreement had been set an ultimatum by the union for midnight January 1, and failed. As a result there are actions around the country, with a major action in Amsterdam on Thursday 5 January.

The latest actions follow a new-found militancy amongst cleaners, which started in 2010 with the longest strike since 1933 by cleaners centred at Utrecht Central Station. The strike lasted for nine weeks and resulted in a partial victory for workers who were demanding a pay rise. In 2011 cleaners working for two Government departments stuck against increased workloads and reduced personnel for 50 days and won their fight.

The success of these previous actions will certainly lend confidence to those currently taking part in struggle now.

Strike wil start tonight 18:30 at Nijmegen railway station: here.

2 thoughts on “Dutch cleaners’ strike

  1. Pingback: Dutch cleaners strike again | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: 100.000 in Brussels for peace and workers’ rights | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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