A trade union or trade association is an organization that represents the interests of its affiliated employees. They negotiate on behalf of the members with the employer or with employers’ associations. In addition, membership also has additional benefits for employees. A trade union focuses primarily on negotiating with employers on behalf of members. These negotiations may relate to wages, but also to working hours, working conditions and other provisions in the collective labor agreement. Trade unions can also offer help and advice in the event of dismissal or threatened dismissal. Members can also contact their own union with labor-related questions. The most well-known trade unions are the CNV and the FNV.
Membership benefits for employees
The various unions offer different benefits to their members. They all represent the members, but the additional services differ. The larger unions have strong bargaining positions given their membership numbers. Below you will find a number of additional benefits that unions often offer.
1) Legal assistance in labor disputes
For legal assistance with regard to work and income, you can often rely on legal assistance coverage from your trade union. The terms and conditions of these additional services differ per union. Legal expenses cover is not always provided free of charge. Some trade unions only give a discount on legal expenses insurance that you can take out with an insurer with which they have made a deal. If you already have legal expenses insurance with cover for work and income, you can be double insured.
2) Right to discounts
The unions have many members, which makes them interesting parties for commercial institutions to make discount agreements with. For example, FNV has agreements regarding health insurance with Menzis. Members can take out health insurance with a seven percent discount. The CNV also has similar agreements with insurers to offer discounts on various insurance policies. Members of the FNV can even log in to a site with their membership number where they will see an overview of the discount options.
3) Assistance with tax returns
You can have your tax return completed by a tax consultant through your trade union. In the months of February and March you can make an appointment through your trade union to complete the annual declaration at a location in your area. The members of FNV do not have to pay for this and members of, for example, the CNV have to pay a personal contribution of approximately 10.
4) Free advice
Even if there is no dispute or reorganization, you can contact the union with your labor and income-related questions. This includes questions that employees encounter, for example relating to working conditions, working hours and salary.
5) Involved in decisions
The unions stand up for the rights of employees. The unions also ask their members for advice on important decisions. As a member you therefore have influence on, for example, the negotiations on a new collective labor agreement.
The cost of membership
Membership costs vary per union. This is right because the services also differ. In addition, it also depends on, among other things, your age and whether you are still actively employed or, for example, have been rejected. You should take into account approximately monthly costs of between 15 and 20. Separate lower rates often apply for young people and pensioners.