News; News & Events

The Netherlands: Largest trade union makes an important step towards a basic income


The largest trade union in The Netherlands with over one million members, FNV (Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging / Federation of Dutch Trade Unions), held a conference on May 10-11 at Sport Business Centre Papendal to discuss its policy plan for the years 2017-2021.
The policy is based on the experiences, opinions and observations of the members, non-members and experts of the organization. During a comprehensive consultation phase, each member had the opportunity to identify the most important topics which should be included in FNV’s conceptual policy plan for 2017-2021. A preliminary summary of the most important subjects was published in a separate draft resolution that was discussed by the Congress of the FNV on May 10. Despite several attempts to amend the draft resolution, the board of the FNV turned down all the proposals that went beyond the statement that “The FNV will investigate a basic income in the coming period and will start a discussion about it.”

However, on the 11th of May, during debates with members of FNV’s parliament and especially with the sector beneficiaries therein, this announcement was replaced by a more powerful and far-reaching text stating that

The basic income is an interesting option, especially in the way it is formulated by FNV Sector Beneficiaries. The FNV therefore proposes to start investigations and experiments in a practice-oriented manner based on the recommendations of FNV Sector Beneficiaries. As a result of this, FNV will decide whether a basic income can become one of the instruments that can equally share work, income and capital.

A ‘basic income’ as formulated by FNV Sector Beneficiaries is

  • an amount that is comparable to the Dutch state retirement pension (AOW) in which a couple receives less than a single person;
  • for anyone who has legally lived in The Netherlands during 18 years;
  • income from paid employment will not be set off with the basic income;
  • current allowances such as rent and care benefits continue to exist;
  • unemployment and disability insurance also remains for that part of the income that comes from paid work.

“Due to the hard work and non-stop pressure of the section of welfare recipients among FNV’s members, they now have negotiated a much better outlook for the introduction of a real basic income in the long run,” says Johan Horeman, “A huge step is set in the right direction.”

The adoption of the amendment was made possible by the driving forces Willem Banning and Harrie Ortmans, board members of FNV Sector Beneficiaries and Johan Horeman, advisor of the board.

Thanks to Ad Planken and Dave Clegg for reviewing this article.

Credit Picture CC Terence Faircloth

About Florie Barnhoorn

Florie Barnhoorn has written 11 articles.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.


  • Sandra Villalpando

    Hello, good afternoon, my name is Sandra Villalpando, I’m Mexican and I want to ask you favor !! That help me to get out of the doubt that if it is true that there are cities that pay to live in them, many times that I appear on facebook that information, I have tried to check in various ways and always leave me with The doubt of whether it is true or not; In this moment the city that I would like to say if you have that program or not Ultrecht, Holland, on this page at the end of the article where they mention to these cities aparace a league through which sent me to the page of you, which I was very interested in all the information it contains regarding this help program. What do you have to do to move to Ultretcht? From the beginning I am very interested in this city, I repeat, is it true that they pay to live there? I want to clarify something, if it is true that financial support is very important at the beginning when one comes to live in a new city, it is basic, but I am the kind of person that once I find a job, I like to give the best to keep it , The important thing here is that they give one the opportunity to work, now, it strikes me very much to go to live in Europe, it is a challenge and a dream that I would like to fulfill.
    Who could I expand the information about? I would be very grateful to them, what needs to be done and above all what the requirements are.
    I remain at your service.

    • Johan Amsterdam

      My wife is from the other side of Latin America, from Chile. She is surprised by what she sees in the Netherlands, people living on social services hardly working. She also notices that the situation differs on the year people arrived in the Netherlands. Before, in the East West controversy people were welcomed and pampered depending on their ‘use’ in this discussion. Since the nineties when the West considered itself the winner things changed. There is a xenophobic wind blowing and people from elsewhere are supposed to buy themselves in into Paradise. High prises, fines for not applying to the norms of learning the language and habits are normal.

      All to defend the welfare state that is diminishing all the time. Holland is part of the neocon or neoliberal movement on this globe. The UBI or Basic Income movement is a countermovement tot this. Formally the state is not interested in a Basic Income. Cities and communities are supposed to locally implement centrally prescribed social security. If a local institute consideres to use its regulating freedom the central government warns it will not allow it. that is the situation.

      Because the NL is now in between governments there is a local sense of freedom. There are 25 municipalities on the list to potentially less tight control for implementing social services. The optimists see it as something getting closer to a basic income. Less optimistic people see it as a way to reduce the costs of the old system.

      FNV, the central trade union, CUT, agreed on its latest congres to support and stimulate experiments leading to a better insight in the effect of Basic income. That is what is getting started, I hope.

      Maybe I can find a Latino who will inform you in Spanish on the situation in the Netherlands. Up to now it is a continuing discussion. I think the number of supporters for a Basic Income is growing strongly in Europe. The discussion is intense and still moving between right wing people who see it as an instrument to push people into a neo classic labor market, and left wing people who want to give a better and safer structure to social security and fair right to the produce of society.

  • Kees Marges.

    Nothing on this on the FNV website, nor on their Facebook page.

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