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The VNO-NCW is the employers federation in the Netherlands, formed by the merger of two previous organizations; the VNO and NCW. The Dutch economy and business backdrop, and especially the labor market, is affected by the work of the VNO-NCW and the trade unions on the ‘CAO’, or Collective Labour Agreement. Within Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe, the VNO-NCW Noord exists as a division of the overall federation; serving only the Northern three provinces, and is based in the City of Groningen.
The organization has over 160 branches, and represents more than 185,000 business enterprises. For businesspeople, aside from being the representative of employers, it is also a source for up-to-date and well researched information. To read more about how the VNO-NCW works, there is an English-language section on its website.
As the representative of business owners and employers, the VNO-NCW forms an important part of the ‘Polder model’ that characterizes the Dutch economy. Based upon a tripartite collaboration between the employers organizations, unions, and government, the ‘Polder model’ is a key part of the Netherlands’ long traditions of consensus politics. This model is best demonstrated by the 1982 Wassenaar Agreement, where the three ‘strands’ agreed to limit wages in order to combat unemployment, stop over-inflation, and increase the diversity of jobs on offer.
In the last couple of decades, the VNO-NCW’s most major role is negotiating the CAO, and advising government; through the work of the Social Economic Council (Dutch: Sociaal-Economische Raad).