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Achmea: update collective labor agreement negotiations

Over the past few weeks, we have negotiated five times about the new collective labor agreement. It is now clear where we stand now. In this message we would like to inform you about the process, the content of the negotiations and the follow-up. In addition, we want to celebrate 'the month of the vakbond' draw attention.

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Het proces

In previous posts we informed you about the innovative DigiC process. A process in which employees have more influence than ever on collective bargaining. At the beginning of the negotiations through panel discussions and a survey and at the end of the negotiations through a referendum. Clear agreements had been made about this with Achmea.

To our surprise and disappointment, Achmea recently indicated that the agreement made with us to consult ALL employees by means of a referendum at the end of the negotiations must be nuanced. This is due to objections from fellow unions who – in addition to their consultation of members – do not want an employee consultation that could (partly) be decisive for the conclusion of a new collective labor agreement. The question now is whether there will be an employee consultation at all! It is certain, however, that such consultation no longer has a formal status and will not (partly) determine the conclusion of the collective labor agreement. We think that's a shame.

For De Unie our proposal letter – which is based on the results of the employee survey – remains unchanged. The wider the support under the agreements in the collective labor agreement, the better! Due to Achmea's choice, it is no longer entirely clear what the consultation on the outcome of the negotiations will look like. We will in any case consult you as soon as a negotiation agreement has been reached.

Content

We have now discussed all collective labor agreement topics. As Achmea stated in its own report last week, it is true that we have reached a kind of consensus on a number of points and that a number of points need further discussion. The latter category in particular concerns the important topics.

Pension and income

For example, Achmea wants to drastically reduce the costs of the pension scheme (more than 20%). Reduce it to such an extent that as a result the accrual of new pension will be much lower than in the past. In addition, there is limited scope for improving incomes. In doing so, Achmea links the costs of the pension scheme and any salary increase.

All this seems to be at odds with the results of the employee survey, in which pay was identified as the most important subject and the wish was also expressed to leave the quality of the pension scheme intact as much as possible.

De Unie is therefore of the opinion that although there is room for reduction of pension costs (lower contribution coverage ratio), the accrual should remain intact as much as possible. This also results in significant savings (approximately 10%). For now that should be enough. In addition, we believe that – partly in view of Achmea's results – there should be room for an appropriate/market-based improvement in income. Fortunately, due to rising inflation, collectively agreed wages have risen slightly more in recent months than in the past. And as far as we are concerned, we will also follow that trend at Achmea.

34-hour working week

Another point for attention is that there seems to be little room in the negotiations for the subject of the '34-hour work week'. This while the outcome of the special survey on this subject does give reason to do so. Comments about the desire to be able to continue working for 36 hours (many employees still use the transitional arrangement for a reason), the possibility to continue working 4×9 and the increased workload.

To avoid misunderstandings..... De Unie is not against a 34-hour work week. We do wonder, however, to what extent the arguments at the introduction of this are still correct? Especially now that more than ever people are working from home and there is more shortage on the labor market.

De Unie is strongly in favor of giving employees a certain amount of space/freedom to make their own decisions. Ultimately, you are primarily responsible for your work-life balance. Even when it comes to your working time.

The sequel

It will be clear that we have entered an important phase of the negotiations. There is still no agreement on important topics.
In addition, we believe that the results of the survey actually deserve (even) more attention. In the end, it was not for nothing that we asked (all) employees for their opinion before the negotiations.

We will discuss further on Tuesday 30 November and Thursday 2 December 2021. We will keep you informed afterwards.

Month of the Vakbond

De Unie and the other trade unions demand extra attention for their work. Achmea also recognizes the great importance of strong employee representation. To underwrite this, Achmea will reimburse the first year's membership fee for employees of Achmea who register as a new member from this week until 1 January 2022. Talk about this with your colleagues who are not yet organized and point out to them the usefulness and necessity of membership of a modern and professional trade union such as De Unie. Modern when it comes to how we would prefer to design the collective labor agreement process and professional when it comes to the content!

Sign up now and take advantage of a year of free membership!

Contact

After reading this newsletter, do you still have questions or do you want to share something with representative Huug Brinkers? Please contact him via huug.brinkers@unie.nl or call 06-5252 2077.
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