At a labor conference in Nagasaki last week organized by UNI Global Union, a group that represents over 900 trade unions and 20 million workers, a nine-week strike by Dutch public hygene workers earlier this year won an award for the best action over the last five years.
According to Radio Netherlands Worldwide:
It was described as “an historic battle” on the UNI Global Union’s website. When the cleaners suspended work, rubbish piled up in public places like railway stations and airports. Litter bins in university buildings, train interiors and government offices were not emptied and spilled over. After six weeks, employers and unions began tentative talks about the strikers’ demands.
In the end, the cleaning workers got their salary rise, but there were more benefits to be reaped. Ms Lok, a member of the FNV-AbvaKabo union, said that it is dawning on employers that they should show some respect towards the cleaners. She explained the changed attitudes “have led to curbs on work pressure and to better working conditions, such as the availability of canteen facilities for the workers.”