Portal:Organized Labour

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The purpose of organized labour is for workers to form "a continuous association of wage-earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment".

This is primarily achieved by use of the technique of collective bargaining, where labour organizations negotiate wages and working conditions with employers. Closely related is the concept of industrial action, in which an organization will call strikes and resist lockouts. Another characteristic of labour organizations are the provision of benefits for members, such as unemployment insurance, health insurance, pensions, funeral expenses, job training, and legal services. Organizations also often carry out political campaigns, lobbying, and support political candidates or parties. Operating costs are covered by the payment of dues and fees by members, with the expectation that the money be spent to benefit the membership.

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Organized Labour Article of the Day for September 25, 2016

Full name Dutch Federation of Trade Unions
Native name Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging
Founded 1976
Members 26
Affiliation ITUC, ETUC
Key people Wim Kok
Country Netherlands
Website www.fnv.nl

The Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging (English: Dutch Federation of Trade Unions; FNV) is a federation of trade unions of the Netherlands.


The FNV was founded in 1976 as a federation of two unions, the Catholic NKV and the social-democratic NVV. The Protestant CNV originally also participated in the talks, but it refused to fully merge into a new union. The federation was founded because of declining membership, due to depillarization and increasing political polarization between left and right. The two fused officially in 1982. Wim Kok, who had already been chair of NVV between 1973 and 1976 became chair of the new organization, which he remained until 1986 when entered parliament for the PvdA.

The FNV was crucial in the economic recovery in the Netherlands during the 1980s. It supported the so-called Accords of Wassenaar, where employee accepted lower wages in trade for more employment. During the 1990s the FNV came into a heavy conflict over reforms the WAO, the disabled act, with the cabinet Lubbers-III, in which the party's former chair, Kok, was vice-prime minister. The proposals were consequently dropped.

In the 2000s the FNV came into conflict with the Second Balkenende cabinet over the AOW, the old aged act, and the WAO, the disabilities act. A huge protest was organized in Amsterdam in 2004. The FNV became a leading member in "Keer het Tij" (Turn the Tide) an alliance of social organizations that opposed the cabinet and became involved in organizing the Dutch Social Forum, the Dutch branch of the World Social Forum in 2004 and 2006.


Although the FNV started out as a neutral union, it has a strong social-democratic orientation and strong links with the social-democratic PvdA. It is critical of both government and employers, but is also heavily incorporated in the Dutch pillarist (corporatist) system. Compared to the CNV, the other major trade union centre, the FNV is more leftwing and has more often used strikes, although the use of these actions is rare in the Netherlands in comparison to other European countries.

Although the FNV is formally independent of other organizations there are strong ideological and personal links with the social-democratic PvdA in what is known as the pillarization. Former FNV chair Wim Kok served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands, between 1994 and 2002. Politicians from other Dutch parties also have their background in FNV, former leader of the Dutch GreenLeft Paul Rosenmöller was one of the leaders of the FNV in the Rotterdam harbours.


The most important function of FNV are the collective bargaining negogiations, on wages and secondary working conditions, it holds with the employers' federations. It also advises government through the Social Economic Council in which other trade unions, employers' organizations and government appointed experts also have seats.


FNV consists out of seventeen affiliate unions, with a total of 1.1 million members, out of a total of 1.9 million people who are member of a trade union. The highest organ of the FNV is the federation congress, which meets every four years. It consists out of members of all affiliate unions, represented proportionally. It elects a federation board with four members, a chair, a vice-chair, a secretary and a treasurer. The current chair is Ton Heerts. A federation council is formed by the board members, and the chairs of the fourteen affiliated unions. It takes decisions over FNV policy.

Name Sector Members
FNV Bondgenoten Industry, agriculture and services 455.734
AbvaKabo FNV Civil servants, healthcare, semi-government and energy 345.344
FNV Bouw Construction, painters and woodworkers 115.000
AOb Education 87.000
FNV Kiem Artists, media, information and gaming 31.729
AFMP/Marver Military and Marechaussee 25.000
NPB Police 24.000
FNV Horecabond Hotels, recreation and catering 23.869
FNV Zelfstandigen Self-employed 15.000
FNV Mooi Barbers and beauty parlors 8.000
NVJ Journalists 7.398
Nautilus NL Seafaring 5.500
FNV Vrouwenbond Women 3.000
FNV Jong Youth 2.500
FNV Sport Sports (non-athletes) 1.100
VVCS Professional football players 875
NL Sporter Professional athletes (except football players) 400

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"The history of the labor movements needs to be taught in every school in this land. America is a living testimonial to what free men and women, organized in free democratic trade unions can do to make a better life. … We ought to be proud of it!"

-- Hubert Humphrey

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