Are strikes legal?
The airlines Air France and Qantas are in negotiations with their staff about new employment terms. Negotiations are not going well. The staff want higher wages and are unhappy with changes proposed by the management. In the end, the staff of both companies threaten to go on strike. The strike will affect tens of thousands of passengers. At Air France, the parties manage to agree a deal at the eleventh hour. An Australian court orders that the strike at Qantas cannot go ahead.
The first strike in recorded history was held in 1152 BC in ancient Egypt ruled by Ramses III by craftsmen working on the necropolis in the Valley of the Kings. The Egyptian authorities were so shocked by this unprecedented rebellion that they met the craftsmen’s demands and increased their wages.
Unlike the situation in most other western countries, for a long time civil servants and railway personnel in the Netherlands who went on strike were committing a criminal offence. In this country we have never established a legal right to strike. In most cases, the courts held that strikes were unlawful and that workers were in default of their obligations as a result.
In 1980, the Netherlands joined the European Social Charter. This charter does recognise a right to strike. Following a strike by the Dutch national railways (NS) in 1983, the Dutch Supreme Court held that the legality of a strike must be assessed on the basis of this European legislation. Since that time, a strike is only unlawful in the Netherlands if it is misused for another purpose or if a party fails to honour its agreement to participate in discussions.
Strikes are expensive and inconvenient. Experience has shown that the best way to prevent strikes and ensure that satisfaction is restored is by proper discussion of the issues concerned.
Some success stories of
Mr. Suzanne van Dijsseldonk
My client is a German car rental company. On a cold December night there had been a collision of four motor vehicles on the A1. Among these motor vehicles there was one which was rented out by the client to a Russian, although it was steered by a Dutchman. The first car suddenly had to brake
Knock and run has been around for centuries. Even you have probably done it in the past. Of course, it was not always fun for the victim, but it doesn’t really harm anyone. A couple of years ago, a client of mine discovered that there are also less innocent forms of knock and run. His
Reasonably higher alimony thanks to some patience
Our client is a wife which wants to divorce her husband. During the marriage the client has worked for the company of her husband, but has mainly taken care of their small children. When parties get a divorce, the question is whether the husband has to pay the wife children- and partner
Instant dismissal reversed
Instant dismissal has far-reaching consequences for the employee. With this his employment contract is being terminated immediately. Not only is the employee deprived of his salary, but in principle he also can’t claim an unemployment benefit (because he is culpable unemployed). The
In an interesting and technical case, a big manufacturer/importer of sawing machines required my legal expertise. Fine An inspector of the Dutch Food- and Consumer Product Safety Authority (DFCPSA) fined the manufacturer, because a saw allegedly did not meet up to the applicable
Company liable for accident at work
My client is an international lorry driver with German nationality. Whilst carrying out his duties he was involved in an accident at work. The accident took place in the Netherlands, so Dutch law applies. My client was transporting grain and whilst unloading he got caught between the bars
UWV refuses dismissal permit twice
My client had been employed by a bronze foundry for over forty years. Due to the recession, his employer reluctantly applied to the Dutch Administrative Office for Employed Persons’ Insurance Schemes (Uitvoeringsinstelling werknemersverzekeringen or UWV) for a permit to dismiss my
A showroom destroyed by fire
One of my clients had a showroom selling bathrooms and related goods. A fire broke out in the showroom and it was destroyed completely. As my client was insured against fire, he made a claim on his insurance. The insurer was only prepared to pay the current market value of the stock rather
Insurer ultimately pays out on classic car destroyed by fire
One of my clients was the proud owner of an American classic car. She took the vehicle for an occasional drive, either alone or with other members of a classic car club. As she only took the car on occasional outings and rarely found the time to do so, it was hardly ever used. Knowing
Driver pays for his dishonesty
Some years ago a German couple came to me for assistance. While holidaying in the Netherlands, a Dutch man had driven into their car. Luckily they were unhurt. However, the costs of repairing their car (removing the dents and partial re-spraying) were significant. Immediately after the
Hope rises from the ashes after false accusations are refuted
A man sought our firm’s assistance after his house burned down. His insurer refused to pay out for the loss, claiming that the man had set his house on fire in order to collect the insurance money. The insurer based this on a report prepared by an expert that it had appointed. The
Account settled in the end
Our client entered into a cooperation agreement with a Dutch company. The key activity covered by the cooperation was the manufacture of car parts. Our client manufactures these parts using a machine supplied by the Dutch company. There was an error in the design of one of the machines
Patience rewarded with significant increase in maintenance
Our client wished to divorce her husband. During the marriage, our client worked in her husband’s company but her main occupation was taking care of their young children. The issue in the divorce was whether the husband had to pay the wife a maintenance allowance for herself and for
Former employee’s claim is unsuccessful
A former employee falsely accused our client of mismanagement and bullying him into leaving. He requested rescission of his own employment contract and applied to court for an extremely high termination settlement to be awarded because he had been bullied into leaving. In the writ he
Involving both insurer and broker leads to settlement
A company director and sole shareholder came to us for advice. He had been unsuccessful in making a claim under his occupational disability insurance. The policy terms for the insurance had been revised on several occasions over the years. As a result it appeared that the insurance no longer
Employment contract terminated decisively in the end
The owner of a jewellery shop came to us saying that for the last six months he had been having a dispute with one of his employees as he wished to terminate her employment contract due to repeated sickness absences. It turned out that the employee had been off sick for almost a year as a
The subsiding extension
Several years ago I represented a woman from Limburg. An extension to her home had started to subside and break away from the rest of the house. The much older house had been extended by the previous owners more than 25 years earlier. The extension included the toilet for the property. My
Taking waste cable home not grounds for summary dismissal
My client worked as a warehouse manager at an electrical goods store. One of his regular duties as warehouse manager was to tidy up scrap materials. This involved sorting reusable cable from waste cable (generally copper cable). He regularly took waste cable home. The employer was aware of
Objection results in UWV paying sickness benefits after all
My client had agreed to the rescission of his employment contract without putting forward any defence. The reason he agreed to his dismissal related to mental health problems he was suffering from. His doctors were of the opinion that leaving his employer would be beneficial to his
UWV grants application after employee refuses to reintegrate
My client, a private company, took on an employee on 1 September 2010 in the role of senior account manager. From January 2011, the employee was regularly absent due to his own health and his girlfriend’s health. In January 2012 he was absent without notice on several occasions.
UWV raises incapacity percentage following objection
My client was a 49-year-old man who originally worked for DAF as a final inspection mechanic. As a result of back problems he became incapable of working on 27 February 2007. From 24 February 2009 he was categorised as 35-80% incapacitated. With effect from 24 July 2011 his incapacity