Collectively agreed wages rose 7 per cent last month. These wage agreements haven’t happened since the 1970s, according to the employers’ association AWVN.
This wage number indicates what employees who are subject to collective labor agreements concluded last month can expect, on average, in pay increases in the next 12 months. Collectively agreed wages have risen since 2021, with a strong acceleration in recent months. In January, wage agreements also reached a record high. Then the average wage increase was 6.3 percent, which was slightly more than in December.
Meanwhile, prices continue to rise faster than wage developments. According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), inflation reached 8 percent in February.
The AWVN has been pointing out for some time that the tone of collective bargaining is becoming more difficult and that labor unions regularly threaten action. Many people are experiencing this growing tension firsthand, as with strikes involving regional buses and trains and uncollected waste in some municipalities. Actions and strikes focus primarily on collective agreements that depend on government finances, such as those of municipal officials, public transportation, and health care.
Sixteen collective labor agreements were concluded last month. This is lower than the average of twenty collective agreements in previous years. The fact that it is now less, according to the AWVN, the important adviser on conditions of employment for employers, can be explained in part by the large number of collective labor agreements entered into last year. As a result, fewer collective labor agreements are due to be renewed. The employers’ association does not have the impression that the rate of collective agreement conclusion is stagnating.
Over the entire year of 2022, collective pay agreements averaged 3.8 percent.
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