Nautilus members join pension demonstration in The Hague

5 June 2019

Nautilus did not call for a strike but joined the action in The Hague in solidarity with other trade unions such FNV and other unions representing the metal, construction and other heavy lift or shift industries - where workers often struggle to get to retirement in good health.

Unions were taking part in demonstrations and strikes in various parts of the Netherlands including The Hague, Eindhoven, Arnhem and Groningen.

Nautilus communications manager Hans Walthie spoke briefly to the assembled crowd in the Hague: 'Millions of people with heavy work or shift work have great difficulty getting a healthy pension. Our members in the maritime and inland shipping, offshore and hydraulic engineering sectors also regularly report this to us. In collective bargaining, we always put this high on the agenda, especially through the conclusion of "generation pacts" - in which older employees can opt to reduce their working hours.'

Mr Walthie read out an email sent by a Nautilus/FNV Waterbouw member at work in the tropics who emphasised the heavy nature of work in the hydraulic engineering sector, and asked the Dutch minister of social affairs 'to lower the retirement age'.

The trade unions are acting to reinforce their demands during a pension consultation in the Netherlands. They are calling for a freeze on the state pension age which is due to be raised to 67 from 66 in 2020. They also want a pension scheme specifically for workers in a heavy work profession who want to retire early.

'Together with the FNV, we as Nautilus believe that in a country such as the Netherlands, everyone should be able to stop working on time and then be able to count on a decent income. Another point of dissatisfaction is that pensions have not kept pace with inflation for a long time,' commented Mr Walthie.

  • update: A draft pension agreement, between the Dutch government, unions and employers, was reached on Wednesday 5 June. FNV and Nautilus members will be invited to vote in a special referendum by June 15.