Brief Description of Employees’ and Employers’ Associations
Only in case of a collective dismissal, or if provided by a Collective Labour Agreement, the employer is obliged to inform the trade unions when it reports its intention to implement the dismissal to the Employee Insurance Agency. Frequently, a social plan (e.g. termination packages) is negotiated. There is no legal obligation for the employer to negotiate the content of a social plan with the trade unions. Nevertheless, a social plan often forms an important part of the negotiations with the trade unions, as they will base their support on the content of that plan. If the employer and the trade unions conclude a social plan, a Court will usually award the employee a severance amount in accordance with that social plan, unless application would be clearly unfair to the employee.
Rights and Importance of Trade Unions
Trade unions play important roles in case of collective dismissals, strikes and collective bargaining. Trade unions can also represent the individual interests of employees. Contrary to the Works Council, there is no statutory number of members and everyone can become a member of a trade union.
Employees’ Representation in Management
All employees (including managers) can become members of a trade union. Please note that an employer cannot terminate an employment contract of an employee because of his/her membership of a trade union. However, the employee is obliged to act in accordance with rules regarding the concept of “good employeeship”. An employee may not interrupt the business of an employer unreasonably, because of trade union work and such activities may only be performed during office hours if the employer provided consent beforehand.
Other Types of Employee Representative Bodies
According to the Dutch Works Council Act, an entrepreneur maintaining an enterprise in which, as a rule, at least 50 employees work, is obliged to establish a works council for the purposes of consultation with and representation of the employees employed by the enterprise. The obligation to establish a works council may also result from a provision to this effect in a Collective Labour Agreement. In principle, every employee (including managers) can stand for election for the works council if the employee has been in service for at least 12 months. Only the executive director is excluded from election.