The Netherlands’ largest trade union has indicated there will be more strike action in the confectionery sector following disquiet at Mars and Perfetti Van Melle.
The Federation of Dutch Trade Unions (FNV) told Just Food “there will be more strikes in the weeks to come”. It said staff were “restless at many biscuit and candy companies”.
The comments come as a three-day strike came to a close last night (10 May) at the Perfetti Van Melle Mentos candy factory in Breda.
Around 100 workers walked out over working conditions and pay at the Dutch confectionery and chewing gum manufacturer. A collective labour agreement was agreed between two “smaller” unions but was rejected by 80% of FNV members, FNV food industry director Eric Brouwer told Just Food.
In a statement yesterday, the FNV said: “[Members are] restless at many biscuit and candy companies. The FNV tries to agree on decent wage increases, but the manufacturers are opposed… New actions are already planned, also in other places.”
The Netherlands employs 11,000 people in the confectionery sector, across nearly 200 companies.
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Meanwhile, a strike over “meagre” wage increases at US giant Mars’s Veghel-based confectionery plant was called off on Monday as board members opened negotiations with the union.
FNV is set to present agreements to its members next Tuesday (16 May). Around 1,200 people work at Mars’s Veghel site, 900 of whom fall under a collective labour agreement for the confectionery sector, the FNV said.
Brouwer said: “Mars has come to meet us. We see sufficient reason to continue talking after this weekend about good additional agreements on top of the Confectionery Collective Labor Agreement.”
He added: “Just like everyone else, people in the confectionery sector want to be able to continue to pay for their groceries. That is why salaries must in any case increase in line with the high inflation. We don’t think that’s asking too much.”
Industrial action is bubbling across sectors in the country, and the FNV’s own employees went on strike over pay last week.
Around half of workers at Dutch dairy cooperative FrieslandCampina’s Borculo factory walked out on Monday (8 May) over pay and working conditions.
Dutch dairy association Nederlandse Zuivel Organisatie (NZO) told Just Food “it is possible” more strikes could follow in the sector. There are 11 dairy companies that negotiate through NZO with Dutch unions about conditions for employees.