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'Outside the box' Christmas negotiations enhance VWH/Spliethoff CBA result

12 January 2023

On December 22, 2022, in Almere, Nautilus lay reps campaigned for a wage increase at the sixth round of VWH/Spliethoff collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations.

Bob Kuiper, Nautilus lay rep and Spliethoff chief mate, wrote: 'The CBA negotiations were difficult. After five rounds of negotiations and a few informal consultations, the shipowners were still stuck at a wage increase of four to five percent. The seafarers however, wanted around 8 percent.'

So the lay reps took some creative action: Santa Claus interrupted the CBA negotiations with some Christmas cheer and kicked off a short round of introductions. Bob Kuiper presented the shipowners' delegation with a Christmas card stating that the lay reps were present on behalf of the seafarers, asking for some appreciation, retention of purchasing power, and help to secure the future of this fine profession.

Lay rep Martin van Belle, captain at Wijnne Barends, informed the shipowners that it is time to make a realistic wage offer, following the example of other companies. Finally, lay rep and Nautilus Council Member Henk Eijkenaar stated that after years of meagre wage rises due to a series of crises, it is now time to think about the staff and seafarers in these good times for shipowners.

The shipowners responded briefly to this, after which lay rep Captain Rudolf Roozendaal urged them to consider the three ghostly visitors to Ebenezer Scrooge in 'A Christmas Carol', who helped him to come to his senses. Finally the lay reps, together with Santa Claus, presented the shipowners' delegation with a Christmas wreath in the shape of an 8 to reinforce the message of an eight percent pay rise.

Following this, the shipowners have improved their offer above the original four to five percent.

Negotiators Sascha Meijer and Marcel van Dam said: 'After six rounds of formal and four rounds of informal consultation, we have now reached a negotiation result. Despite inflation, the shipowners absolutely do not want to go beyond a 6.5% rise and a 1000-euro one off payment. We will now present this offer to the members for their votes.'


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