Dutch Dockers Celebrate – “We’ve got the Money Back”

In recognition of an historic win, Dutch wharfies from FNV invited international supporters to a celebration as an acknowledgement of their solidarity during the successful ‘Put the Money Back’ campaign. 

On September 30, a delegation including MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin and MUA President Christy Cain attended the event in Rotterdam.

The MUA and ITF played a pivotal role in supporting the Dutch dockworkers who had seen their pension funds disappear from in front of their eyes.

After seven years of hard slog, FNV were able to recover more than  500 million (approximately $700m) that pension fund Aegon had blocked after it took over the Optas pension firm in 2007.

All of the money will benefit retirement arrangements of approximately 8,000 dockworkers in the Netherlands.

FNV Chairman Niek Stam, who sits on the ITF Docker’s Section with Crumlin, attended the MUA 2012 Quadrennial Conference, which included a memorable march through the streets of central Sydney to Aegon’s office. 

Clearly elated with the result Stam opened the celebrations by declaring; “We’ve got the money back!”

Crumlin was also invited to speak on stage and he began in saying the success of the campaign was a victory for human beings.

“This money isn’t about power, money is about decent lives, money is about community, money is about securing yourself against infirmity, money is about securing yourself against ill-health, money is about giving you a home and giving your children an education, money is about justice and nothing else and as long as we have moral leadership like Niek Stam we’ve got a future and a future we call all look forward to,” he said.

Chirsty Cain added that justice had been served. 

“(It’s) a real good working campaign put together all over the world, you know, whether it be in Sydney, whether it be in the UK, whether it be in Europe. It’s just been a fantastic result (for) working people,” he said.