Friday, January 29, 2016


The flag of the merged trade union "CNV Craftsmen"

From January 1, the CNV Services Trade Union merged with CNV Trade Union of Craftsmen. With this merger the CNV Trade Union Craftsmen has become 160 000 members, all working in the private/market sector.
About hundred negotiators of this new trade union will play an important role in the creation of approximately 500 collective agreements in the Netherlands. In the magazine Akkoord of the former CNV Services Trade union, the current president Dirk Zwagerman and his predecessor Jaap Kos (1973-1995) look back at the rich history of their trafe union, which has reached the age of 112.

In 1894 was founded the predecessor of the CNV Services Trade union, the Dutch Association of Christian Clerical and Commercial Employees (NVCK & H). The NVCK & H is one of the oldest national trade unions in the Netherlands. Industrialization led to increase in scale. The larger working places created a need for advocacy for workers. Swagerman: "I have often thought about how it must have been during that time. I have deep respect for the people who did their trade union work alongside their normal work without any legal protection. To say something wrong could have immediately serious consequence at your workplace. These people took great risks. “

The last President of the CNV Services trade union who retired after the merger with
CNV Craftsmen

In 1909, the NVC K & H (about 500 members) and other unions founded the Trade Union Confederation CNV. Swagerman: "There is often a misunderstanding about the role of the trade union confederation. People often think that the confederation decides about trade union policies, but it is the other way around. At that time so many different national trade unions were founded, that together they decided to found a confederation, with the aim to do as much as possible together but at the same time to continue as independent trade unions. "

The beginning of the five year occupation of the the Netherlands by Hitler and the German Army. The leadership of CNV was taken over by the Dutch political party of Nazi’s (NSB). Within a few weeks 90% of the members left the confederation.

The former President of the CNV Services trade union Jaap Kos (left) was also President of the World Federation of Clerical Workers WFCW, the predecessor of WOW. The photograph was made at a meeting of the European Board of the WFCW held in Zürich, Swiss (August 27, 1992). From left to right: Jaap Kos (President of WCFW coming from the Dutch CNV Services trade union), Richard Paiha (Board member and Secretary General of the Austrian FCG-GPA), Charles Steck (Treasurer of the WFCW coming from the Swiss trade union Syna), Ivo Penner (President of the European Organization of the WFCW and  coming from the Austrian trade union FCG-GPA), Piet Nelissen (executive secretary WFCW and confederal secretary World Confederation of Labour)

Merger of the NVCK & H with the Trade Union of Technicians (NVCT) and the Trade Union of Craftsmen (NCWB), both also members of the CNV Confederation, into the Dutch Christian Trade Union of Employees (NCBB)

The name NCBB is changed into HBV (Commerce, Banking and Insurance) with 12 949 members.
Jaap Kos:  "Until the name changed into Services Trade union (Dienstenbond CNV) in 1978, the HBV was a bit of a dusty club. I thought it was even a bit of a dowdy club, housed in a stately mansion in Amsterdam. There were old-fashioned furniture and an old typewriter. The HBV had a bit of a bureaucratic appearance, what we call in the Netherlands men-brothers ambiance. “

1977 is the year of the the first strikes. Jaap Kos: "As Christian trade union we were involved in strikes only from 1977. It was very special because we had no history of strikes,. I remember particularly the strike at the broadcasting stations. TV newsman Charles Groenhuijsen wanted to make a news item about the strike until I reminded him that he himself was part of the strike. At one point I myself was threatened by viewers when television and radio went on black. “

Launch of growth models by borrowing millions at other CNV trade unions. Swagerman: "The services sector became more important for the Dutch economy. Employment was growing enormously. We as Services Trade union had not enough financial resources to deal with the growth in an optimal way. In order not to be blown away at the negotiating tables - especially with large employers - we must grow: both in terms of membership and organization as well as in terms of professionalism. By borrowing money from other CNV trade unions, we could for instance attract more lawyers and negotiators and professionalize on other areas. “

100 th anniversary of the CNV Services Trade union. The growth models proved to be successful: 21 250 members.

Mass Demonstration on the Museumplein against government plans regarding early retirement, pension and disability insurance (300,000 demonstrators).

The merger with CNV Trade union of Craftsmen (160,000 members). Swagerman: "I will soon become one of the leaving chairmen. I am confident that we will pass in good way our wonderful history to the new organization." 

Piet Fortuin, the new President of the merged CNV Craftsmen trade union.

New Approach
Piet Fortuin is the new President of the CNV Craftsmen. "We want to be very emphatically a reliable partner for workers which they can consult throughout their careers." He adds: "We are not a trade union of different menus and six persons are waiting before you."
Therefore our trade union launches soon the digital platform "Your Supporters". This platform is set up for each sector and provides both members and non-members a place to engage with each other and with trade union professionals. Workers can discuss on the platform about irregularities that occur in their industry or business so that colleagues and trade union professionals can respond. Thanks to the many interactions that will follow, the support and representation of collective agreements will be increased."

Kees van Kortenhof