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The Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging (English: Federation of Dutch Trade Unions; FNV) is a federation of trade unions of the Netherlands.

Full nameDutch Federation of Trade Unions
Native nameFederatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging
AffiliationITUC, ETUC
Key peopleWim Kok



The FNV was founded in 1976 as a federation of two unions, the Catholic NKV and the social-democratic NVV. The Protestant CNV originally also participated in the talks, but it refused to fully merge into a new union. The federation was founded because of declining membership, due to depillarization and increasing political polarization between left and right. The two fused officially in 1982. Wim Kok, who had already been chair of NVV between 1973 and 1976 became chair of the new organization, which he remained until 1986 when entered parliament for the PvdA.

The FNV was crucial in the economic recovery in the Netherlands during the 1980s. It supported the so-called Wassenaar Agreement, where employee accepted lower wages in exchange for more employment. During the 1990s the FNV came into a heavy conflict over reforms of the WAO, the disabled act, with the cabinet Lubbers-III, in which the party's former chair, Kok, was vice-prime minister. The proposals were consequently dropped.

In the 2000s the FNV came into conflict with the Second Balkenende cabinet over the AOW, the old aged act, and the WAO, the disabilities act. A huge protest was organized in Amsterdam in 2004. The FNV became a leading member in "Keer het Tij" (Turn the Tide) an alliance of social organizations that opposed the cabinet and became involved in organizing the Dutch Social Forum, the Dutch branch of the World Social Forum in 2004 and 2006.

In 2012 the FNV almost split due to a conflict between the more radical wing and the moderates on the issue of pensions. The spit was averted, but let to a complete overhaul of the organizational model of the FNV. Late 2014 the largest three unions of the federation (FNV Bondgenoten [nl], Abvakabo [nl] and FNV Bouw [nl]) merged with the federation.


Although the FNV started out as a neutral union, it has a strong social-democratic orientation and strong links with the social-democratic PvdA. It is critical of both government and employers, but is also heavily incorporated in the Dutch pillarist (corporatist) system. Compared to the CNV, the other major trade union centre, the FNV is more leftwing and has more often used strikes, although the use of these actions is rare in the Netherlands in comparison to other European countries.

Although the FNV is formally independent of other organizations there are strong ideological and personal links with the social-democratic PvdA in what is known as the pillarization. Former FNV chair Wim Kok served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands, between 1994 and 2002. Politicians from other Dutch parties also have their background in FNV, former leader of the Dutch GreenLeft Paul Rosenmöller was one of the leaders of the FNV in the Rotterdam harbours.


The most important function of FNV are the collective bargaining negogiations, on wages and secondary working conditions, it holds with the employers' federations. It also advises government through the Social Economic Council in which other trade unions, employers' organizations and government appointed experts also have seats.


The FNV is both a labor union (consisting of different sectors) as well as a labor federation (with affiliated independent unions). Both these sectors and affiliated unions are represented in the FNV parliament, which is directly elected by the membership. The number of seats per sector/affiliated union is determined by their membership in proportion to the total membership of the FNV. The parliament represents the membership, creates "overarching" policy and oversees the board. The parliament also elects the board (except the chairman, who is directly elected by the membership). The current chairman is Han Busker.

Sectors & Affiliated UnionsEdit


Name Represents Seats in parliament
Bouwen & Wonen Construction and other building trades 5
Diensten Services 6
Handel Retail 4
Industrie & Agrarisch Industry and agriculture 6
Jong Youth 1
Media & Cultuur Printers, designers, packaging industry 2
Metaal Metal 7
Overheid Public Sector 8
Publiek Belang Semi-public sector, privatized sectors 3
Senior Seniors 17
Uitkeringsgerechtigden Unemployed and disabled 5
Vervoer Transport 5
Zelfstandigen Self-employed 1
Zorg & Welzijn Healthcare 13

Affiliated UnionsEdit

Name Represents Seats in parliament
FNV Horeca Hotels, recreation and catering 2
NVJ Journalists 1
Kunstenbond Artists 1
Marver Marechaussee 1
Nautilus Seafaring 1
AFMP Military 2
AOb Teachers 8
NPD Police 2
VVCS Football players 1
NL Sporter Professional athletes (excluding football players) 1
FNV Mooi Barbers and beauty parlors 1
FNV Vrouw Women 1

External linksEdit