Highest number of strikes in the Netherlands since 1989

Highest number of strikes in the Netherlands since 1989

According to figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS), in 2017, 32 strikes took place. This is the highest number of strikes since 1989.

More strikes with more employees

Last year, the number of lost working labour days, as a result of the strikes, came in at more than 306.000. This is the highest it has been in 20 years time. In 2016, this number was just above 19.000.

And it is not only the number of lost labour days which has increased in the past years, the number of employees involved in strikes has also shot up. In 2017, 147.000 people were involved in a strike, as opposed to a meagre 11.000 in 2016.

Each year, it seems that the number of strikes is increasing, with the exception of 2016, which does not follow the same trend. In particular, short strikes of more than one working day, but less than five are becoming greater in number.

Dutch sectors with the most strike actions

The highest number of strikes occurred in the industry and transport and storage sectors last year. The industry sector suffered 13 strikes and the transport and storage sector 12, equating to 10.000 lost working labour days and more than 2.000 respectively.

Unions announced strikes 80 percent of the time, with the main reason being disagreements regarding collective labour agreements and salary. Unox, Vomar and Bakkersland are amongst the many companies affected by the strikes.

Whilst the highest number of strikes occurred in the industry sector, the most sizeable strike transpired in the education sector. During said strike, which took place in October, 10.000 teachers at Dutch primary schools took the day off to rally in The Hague for higher salaries.

According to research from CBS and TNO in 2017, half of the educators in Dutch primary schools are unhappy with their salary. Strikes in the education and transport sector have carried on into 2018, the most recent being the public transport strike of April 30 until May 1.

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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