New publication: 'Collective bargaining in the Dutch metal and electrical engineering industry'


By Maarten van Klaveren & Kea Tijdens

The story of the metal and electrical engineering collective agreement

The current collective labour agreement covering the Dutch metal and electrical engineering industry dates as of 1985, when the earlier agreement was divided in an agreement for firms with 31 or more employees (the ‘large metal industry’) and for smaller firms (the ‘small metal industry’). We concentrate on the first one, called in Dutch CAO Metaal/Elektrotechnische industrie, currently covering about 150,000 employees. In the 1980s, this agreement remained the wage leader in the Dutch industrial relations like its predecessor had been before, but in the 1990s the collective agreement gradually lost its leadership; the collective agreement for banking, soon to be split up in agreements for the various large banks, took over. Most recently, while wage increases remained slightly higher in the CAO Metaal/Elektrotechnische industrie, the small metal industry contained more innovative elements. Major explanations may be found in the heavy international competition to which large parts of ‘large metal’ were exposed, in the fact that small metal firms seem more inclined to negotiate integrative elements, in particular concerning training, with the trade unions, and a remarkably successful strike mobilisation of the union membership in small firms.

To read further, download the paper at the link below.

The reprint can be downloaded here ( → publications → NL Industrial Relations Series)

2011-1 Collective bargaining in the Dutch metal and electrical engineering industry
Maarten van Klaveren & Kea Tijdens
Click here for the paper

The publications series

The AIAS ‘Labour markets and industrial relations in the Netherlands’ series aim to publish reports prepared by AIAS staff concerning the Dutch labour market and the industrial relations in the country.

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