Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging
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The FNV was founded in 1976 as a federation of two unions, the Catholic NKV and the social-democratic NVV. The Protestant CNV originally also participated in the talks, but it refused to fully merge into a new union. The federation was founded because of declining membership, due to depillarization and increasing political polarization between left and right. The two fused officially in 1982. Wim Kok, who had already been chair of NVV between 1973 and 1976 became chair of the new organization, which he remained until 1986 when entered parliament for the PvdA.
The FNV was crucial in the economic recovery in the Netherlands during the 1980s. It supported the so-called Accords of Wassenaar, where employee accepted lower wages in trade for more employment. During the 1990s the FNV came into a heavy conflict over reforms the WAO, the disabled act, with the cabinet Lubbers-III, in which the party's former chair, Kok, was vice-prime minister. The proposals were consequently dropped.
In the 2000s the FNV came into conflict with the Second Balkenende cabinet over the AOW, the old aged act, and the WAO, the disabilities act. A huge protest was organized in Amsterdam in 2004. The FNV became a leading member in "Keer het Tijd" (Turn the Tide) an alliance of social organizations that opposed the cabinet and became involved in organizing the Dutch Social Forum, the Dutch branch of the World Social Forum in 2004 and 2006.
Although the FNV started out as a neutral union, it has a strong social-democratic oriententation. It is critical of both government and employers but also heavily encorpated in the Dutch corporatist system. Compared to the other major union, CNV, FNV is more leftwing and radical and has often used strikes.
The most important function of FNV is the CAO-talks, over wages and secondary working conditions, it holds with the employers' federations. It also advises government via the Social Economic Council in which other trade unions, employers' organizations and government appointed experts also have seats.
FNV consists out of fourteen affiliate unions, with a total of 1,2 milliion members, about 60% of all organized workers in the Netherlands are member of the FNV. The highest organ of the FNV is the federation congress, which meets every four years. It consists out of members of all affiliate unions, represented proportionally. It elects a federation board with four members, a chair, a vice-chair, a secretary and a treasurer. The current chair is Agnes Jongerius. A federation council is formed by the boardmembers, and the chairs of the fourteen affiliated unions. It takes decisions over FNV policy.
Although the FNV is formally independent of other organizations there are strong ideological and personal links with the social-democratic PvdA in what is known as the pillarization. Former FNV chair Wim Kok served as prime minister of the Netherlands, between 1994 and 1998. Politicians from other Dutch parties also have their background in FNV, former leader of the Dutch GreenLeft Paul Rosenmöller was one of the leaders of the FNV in the Rotterdam harbours.
The FNV affiliate unions
- FNV Bondgenoten: the industrial union with about 480,000 members;
- FNV Zelfstandige Bondgenoten: which represents the interest of the self-employed. It has around 7,000 members;
- ABVAKABO FNV: the civil servants' union, with around 365.000 members;
- FNV Bouw: which represents the interest of construction workers. It has around 155,000 members;
- Algemene Onderwijsbond: the teachers' union, with around 72,000 members;
- FNV KIEM: which represents the interest of artists and those employed in the information sector. It has around 48,000 members;
- FNV Horecabond: the union for those employed by hotels, restaurants and pubs, with 27,000;
- Nederlandse Politiebond: which represents the interest of police personnel. It has 22,000 members;
- AFMP: the military union with 26,000 members;
- Kappersbond FNV: represents barbers. It has 10,000 members;
- Nederlandse Vereniging Journalisten: union of journalists. Unlike other unions this one has a strict code of behaviour and it gives out a press card. It has around 7,300 members'
- FNV Vrouwenbond: which represents women, both employed and unemployed. It has around 6,100 members.
- FWZ: the seafaring union with about 6,000 members
- FNV Sport: professional athletes. It has around 1,450 members
- VVCS: professional soccer players. It has around 750 members.