Last year there were 33 strikes in the Netherlands, half more than in 2021. But most strikes were short-lived.
This is evident from figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Last year, 17,000 employees laid off work for a shorter or longer period of time. A total of 39,000 working days were lost as a result. There were many strikes in the storage and transport sectors in particular, thirteen times. There was a major strike among drivers in regional transport.
Inflation rose to a record high last year. But that did not lead to a wave of strikes for wage increases. “It took until the autumn before inflation became very high. The unions then set higher wage demands, but that does not mean that there will be a strike immediately,” said Peter Hein van Mulligen, chief economist at CBS.
The catch-up that the unions are making to restore the purchasing power of workers is expected to take place mainly this year. Several long-term strikes are already underway, such as at the distribution centers of Albert Heijn. “But the figures for 2023 will not be available until next year,” says Van Mulligen.
Of the 33 strikes, 25 were ended by an agreement between the unions and the employers. It was striking that most strikes only lasted for a short time. So the unions got their way with small actions.
On average, strikes take place about 22 times a year in the Netherlands, so 2022 was a turbulent year with 33 strikes. But the number of strikers was very low. In 2020, for example, there were only nine strikes, but there were 105,000 strikers. In that year the teachers went on strike and that is a large group.
Despite the major loss of purchasing power due to the high inflation, three-quarters of employees are satisfied with their salary, according to the CBS figures. Employees at financial institutions, banks and insurance companies were the most satisfied with their salary. There, 88 percent were satisfied with the salary. The least satisfied were the people who work in healthcare. There, 66 percent were satisfied.
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