Why I have nothing to do with the trade union myself…

I Don’t Understand Trade Unions

VDL ceased production of the Mini last week. Not only did the production halt garner attention in the press, but the trade unions also received a noticeable platform. In my opinion, entirely unjustified!

First, my own story. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. My father is one, my grandfather, and his father were too. In the eyes of the trade union, the entrepreneur is always the adversary, never the partner. Every entrepreneurial course teaches that the goal of ‘profit’ in a business is not profit for the shareholder, but for the continuity of the business. I experienced firsthand what it did to my father when he had a ‘dispute’ with one of his employees in his restaurant and the ‘union’ got involved. I did not come away from that experience with a loving attitude towards the union.

Now that VDL is ceasing operations, I saw on various news programs the trade unions crying foul and making it clear that the cessation is unfortunate for VDL employees. That’s true; it’s extremely bitter to lose your job, especially when a company fails to take responsibility and the local, provincial, and national governments don’t provide support to such a large company with corresponding employment.

Only VDL Believed in NEDCAR

However, there is one caveat. The trade unions forget to mention that VDL was the only party willing to save NEDCAR at the time with its own entrepreneurial capital. They also overlook the efforts made by the entrepreneur to give NEDCAR a future, including a significant contract with a top client like BMW. It’s an understatement to say that the years after securing the Mini production contract were good. The company made profits, making the investment worthwhile.

Only VDL believed in that investment, and nobody else in the whole world did. As soon as profits were made, the staff, led by the trade unions, went on strike. Striking and thus stopping work while still being paid to work. You could simply resign and find another job if you’re not happy….

No Longer Relevant

I understand that there were abuses in the 1920s, and there was a huge inequality between entrepreneur and employee. Now it’s different. VDL was a godsend for NEDCAR and should have been cherished by the trade unions. That didn’t happen; the unions mainly saw VDL as an adversary.

As an employer, you’re subject to laws and regulations that aren’t in favor of the employer. If you have an exceptionally good employer, a company like VDL, who wants to provide production work for Dutch craftsmen and workers, then I would praise that organization instead of striking for more money.

Clients Aren’t Foolish!

No wonder BMW grew tired of the numerous strikes and interruptions and made other choices. And new clients? They consider the circumstances and take into account the frequent strikes. Indeed, those work stoppages don’t count as positives.

So yes, it’s very unfortunate for the people who worked there, but the trade unions have a significant responsibility. You can’t always strike to get your way. Profit in a company is not a dirty word; it’s necessary for continuity. And that continuity is now threatened at VDL Nedcar.

Just My Opinion

My opinion may not be popular, and that’s fine; this is my personal opinion. I will never take trade unions seriously as a negotiating partner. To me, unions were relevant a loooong time ago; now I see them as a group that shouts just to shout. With the current labor shortage, you need to be an exceptionally good employer; after all, without staff, there’s no business. And for good entrepreneurship towards employees, trade unions are no longer needed today or tomorrow.

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