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Dutch cement workers strike for new agreement

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13 December, 2022On 6 December, workers at the Heidelberg Materials owned Mebin plant in the Netherlands went on strike, rejecting the employers’ bid for a new collective agreement. 

As the time for response to the collective bargaining demands issued by IndustriALL affiliate Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging (FNV) to the Heidelberg Materials companies Mebin (concrete mortar plants) and ENCI (cement plant) expired in November, the union warned of potential strike.
Among the union demands are automatic price compensation, travel expenses scheme, as well as changes to the pension scheme. Mebin has introduced a pension scheme that would result in higher contributions from workers, while reducing those of the employer. 
Employers did not make it clear why they rejected the demands; Heidelberg Materials is still turning profits in the current economic situation and providing generous dividends to their shareholders.

FNV construction & housing director Margreet Pasman says: 

“It is incomprehensible that employer at Mebin are is really pushing us to industrial actions and strikes. Their final offer was so bad that we were out of negotiations and had to issue an ultimatum.”

Earlier this month, union members at ENCI agreed to a bid from the employer, while members at the Mebin plant voted strongly against and launched their first strike on 6 December at the Mebin mortar plants in A’dam, Hoorn en Alkmaar. 
IndustriALL cement director Alex Ivanou says:

"It is unfortunate that ENCI and Mebin employer is are reluctant to negotiate in good faith. In Heidelberg Materials code of conduct the Group committs to honest and fair interaction with employees’ representatives, but this is neither honest nor fair attitude of the company. ENCI and Mebin management must return to the negotiating table and negotiate a collective agreement that provides a fair and just solution to the FNV demands.”

Heidelberg Materials produces and sells cement and mortar for the Netherlands’ construction industry. In total, its subsidiaries Mebin and ENCI employ 700 people in the Netherlands.