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Netherlands: Trade Unions, ABU and NBBU reach agreement on new Collective Labour Agreement for Temporary Workers

Following a year of talks, the trade unions FNV, CNV Vakmensen, De Unie and the Dutch Federation of Private Employment Agencies (ABU) and the NBBU (Dutch Association of Mediation and Temporary Employment Companies) reached an agreement on a new Collective Labour Agreement for temporary workers in November 2021. The new Collective Labour Agreement came into effect on 1st of January 2022.  

Negotiations for over a year 

Negotiations for a new collective agreement began in September 2020 but talks broke down between the four parties in May 2021. However, the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) presented an advisory report in June on the labour market. SER is an advisory body in which employers, employees, and independent experts (Crown-appointed members) work together to reach agreement on key social and economic issues. 

The key message from SER was that a permanent employment contract should be the norm and that flexible work should be made less attractive. As a result, negotiations for a new collective agreement resumed in September 2021 with an agreement reached by the trade unions, ABU and NBBU in November. 

New collective agreement for temporary workers

This new collective agreement will provide more job security, better pension accrual, and reduce the difference in wages between temporary workers and permanent staff. In addition, labour migrants will receive an income guarantee for two months.  

What the new collective agreement offers temporary workers:  

Job security 

  • The duration of a worker’s first temporary contract will be reduced from 78 weeks to a maximum of 52 weeks.  
  • With the new agreement, workers will now only be allowed to work on a temporary contract for three years. After this time, a company will have to make the contract permanent.  

Pension accrual 

  • Pension contributions will be calculated over a broader base of income to ensure that temporary agency workers will be able to build up a pension more easily. 

Reduce disparity in wages between temporary workers and permanent staff 

  • With the new collective agreement, it has been agreed that the workers remuneration will be increased. The new collective agreement sets out the plan to ensure wages and other terms and conditions of employment for temporary workers must be equivalent to those of their colleagues employed by the user company.  
  • While the new collective agreement introduces the reduction, it has been agreed to take the necessary steps in the next multi-year collective labour agreement to further achieve this equality.  

Income guarantee for labour migrants  

  • Another part of the collective agreement is to introduce income guarantee for labour migrants. With this new collective agreement, there will be an income guarantee equal to the statutory minimum wage for the first two months at a temporary employment agency.  
  • The unions have also agreed that labour migrants can remain in accommodation for up to four weeks after the end of the agency work employment contract. 

Next steps 

The new Collective Labour Agreement came into effect on 1st January 2022 and will run until 2nd  January 2023. This is considered the first step towards the further implementation of the SER advisory report. More information on the collective agreement here.

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