Successful negotiations in Spain and the Netherlands

Female painter

A collective agreement covering painters in the Netherlands, guaranteeing automatic wage indexation, means that 16,000 workers in the sector will get a 10.3% pay rise.

The new agreement (SAVG) stipulates that wage increases for 2023, 2024 and 2025 at least equal the consumer price index.

"This way, the 16,000 employees retain their purchasing power," said Peter Roos, director of the FNV Bouwen en Wonen (building and living) union. “The idea behind the automatic price compensation is that the real value of the wages is also guaranteed in the future. With the current inflation figures, a wage rise of 10.3% is necessary to provide a living. Work must pay.” The collective labour agreement calculates the increase based on actual inflation over an annual period from July to July. 88% of union members voted in favour of the deal.

In Spain, the UGT and CC.OO trade unions have welcomed a new three-year agreement that could deliver public sector pay increases of more than 9% by the end of 2024. Unions rejected an initial government offer of only 2% for 2022. After negotiations and in response to the cost-of-living crisis, an additional 1.5% will be backdated to January 2022 and awarded in a one-off payment before the end of the year. Further increases will come in 2023 and 2024. The agreement also covers other trade union demands including the right to collective bargaining, the recognition of collective agreements and lifting restrictions on implementing the 35-hour week.

“The text highlights the importance of collective bargaining to reach agreements that improve the lives of workers and citizens in general,” said Isabel Araque, UGT Public Services Union Action Secretary. “For the first time in a period of crisis, public employees will have a salary increase, instead of suffering cuts in rights and salaries.”

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Spain: CC.OO, UGT