On 27 May 2021 the ABU and the NBBU reached an agreement with the trade union LBV to extend the current collective labour agreement (CLA) for temporary employees until 1 October 2021. The CLA had been set to expire on 1 June 2021 (for further details please see "Expiry of CLAs has drastic consequences for temporary employment industry").
Jurriën Koops, director of the ABU, stated as follows:
It is important that LBV has taken its responsibility, so that the current CLA will remain in force after 1 June. For the time being, this provides peace of mind and clarity and the possibility – if an SER agreement on the labor market is reached – to include the consequences of this.
It is unlikely that there will be a period of general binding declaration (avv). The starting point for this is admittedly the number of members among the bound employers and all of their staff, but this is also a special situation, given that the FNV and the CNV (the Netherlands' most important trade unions) have refused to sign. Objections to the avv will undoubtedly be submitted. In addition, the extension period is so short that there is little time for an avv (which cannot have retroactive effect). Non-members cannot voluntarily apply the entire extended CLA. To do this, they must be a member of the ABU or the NBBU. For example, non-members cannot utilise the phase system. This means that competition with respect to terms of employment may arise between employers which are members of the ABU and the NBBU and employers which are not.
There is also no obligation on the employee side. LBV's members are immediately bound by the renewed CLA, provided that their employer is affiliated with the ABU or the NBBU. However, this is a negligibly small group. The remaining temporary workers are generally bound by an incorporation clause (as stated above, an avv is unlikely). An important objection is that the existing incorporation clauses do not necessarily refer to this extension because the large unions, the FNV and the CNV, did not co-sign. If the incorporation clause is 'Haviltex-ed' (the generally accepted standard for interpreting a clause in the Netherlands, named after a Supreme Court case), the question arises as to whether an employee was equally willing to commit to a CLA that is concluded only with the LBV. The fact that the extension does not entail any changes is not decisive. After all, things are not going smoothly in the temporary work sector, and there is a reason why the FNV and the CNV did not sign.
What the extension does bring about is that temporary workers who enter the service of an employer which is a member of the ABU or the NBBU after 1 June 2021 may fall under the extended CLA and may thus be subject to deviations from mandatory law, such as the phase system. The objection that their incorporation clause (assuming that they are not members of the LBV) 'changes colour' does not apply to them.
For further information on this topic please contact Ronald Beltzer at Maes Law by telephone (+31 85 902 12 70) or email ([email protected]). The Maes Law website can be accessed at www.maeslaw.nl.