National Report The Netherlands - May 2019

 

Since last report, there have been many activities that are worth mentioning in this report. The whole labour market is quite turbulent due to shortages and persistent growth of the economy. Because of the shortages of employees in healthcare, all the specific sectors are asking for more money to improve the working conditions of professionals. On the other hand, also because of shortages, the rate of sick leave is increasing. Which leads in its turn to a higher workload. It is not easy to break this circle. LAD and the other unions try to make arrangements in the CLA to decrease the workload and improve the working conditions. But the last months we notice that the negotiations are becoming more and more difficult.

Collective Labour Agreements

General Hospitals

One of the most import CLA’s has expired on the first of April this year. The negotiations are in progress at this very moment. Several subjects have already been discussed, but the main issue, the salary paragraph is yet to be discussed. Although the negotiations are not quite easy, parties have the intentions to reach an agreement by this summer.

Nursing and care homes

Unions and employers associations in this sector decided to start the negotiations in a different way. Not opening the negotiations by sending a letter with proposals to each other, but by starting a long term dialogue. The idea behind this new way of negotiating is that a better understanding of the interest of the other party leads to a better result. But, as always, the most exciting part is the discussion about the raise of the wages. We expect that this part of the negotiation starts in May or June.

Disability care

Since January 1st the Dutch association of Physicians for mentally retarded patients (NVAVG) has joined the LAD. In the negotiations for the new CLA Disability care we now represent all the physicians in this sector. However, this is still a very small group. About 200 physicians for mentally retarded patients are working in the different organisations. That is far too little. For a healthy service to this population, there should be at least a 1000 physicians. But this specific profession is as well unknown as unpopular. LAD and NVAVG are working together to improve the position of these physicians and enlarge the attractiveness of the profession. The negotiations in itself are also proceeding quite rough.

University Hospitals

In September last year we announced that we were preparing for more firm campaigns, because an agreement appeared further away than before. But, shortly after last meeting, the employers associations surprised us with a final but very good offer. After consulting our members, we accepted this final proposal. The new CLA expires on January 1st of 2021 and there is a structural raise of wages of 2,5% on the first of August 2018, 2,75% on the first of August 2019 and 3% on the first of August 2020. Also, parties agreed on taking actions to lower the workload and on introducing a ‘generation approach’ which makes it possible for the more senior employees to work less without affecting the development of the pension. This is, however, voluntary, but the unions try to reach agreements with individual employers.

Other topics

Research on Psychiatrists

In collaboration with the Dutch association of Psychiatrists (NVvP), LAD carried out a research on the grounds why a large group of psychiatrists stopped working employed and started working independent. Among the employed psychiatrists this is a big issue, because for them the workload is increasing when colleagues are leaving the organisation. The main reasons to stop working employed are the high administrative burden and the great amount of not-patient related work. When they are hired as independent psychiatrists, the amount of patient related work is much higher. Because they prefer to work as much as possible with patients, they choose to work as an independent professional. With these results LAD and the NVvP try to influence the employers and politicians to make changes to avoid further leave of employed psychiatrists. Not because the employed status is a goal in itself, but we believe that eventually it is in the interest of the patient.

Bankruptcy of two hospitals

Last autumn, two hospitals went bankrupt. Not unique, but the fact that those two hospitals went bankrupt at the same time is quite remarkable. Also, not really surprising because both hospitals belonged to the same owner, but one was situated in Amsterdam and the other in a more rural area. Especially the bankruptcy of the latter was problematic, because the emergency care was placed at risk. The legal advisors of the LAD (and the Federation of Medical Specialists) have supported the medical specialists in both hospitals in this unpleasant situation.

Internal Matters

New LAD President

Last autumn, Suzanne Booij was elected as the new president of the LAD. Suzanne is a neurologist in a general hospital in the city of Nijmegen. Christiaan was president for two periods and according to the articles of association of the LAD it was time to elect a new president. Because of his contribution to the growth and development of the LAD, Christiaan is now honorary member of the LAD.