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A 24-hour strike at FloraHolland one week before Valentine’s Day appears to have passed without significant disruption.

An unknown number of workers at the company, the Netherlands-based flower wholesale co-operative owned by 5,000 growers, walked out on Thursday evening in a disupte over the conditions being offered to 200 staff threatened with redundancy.

Around 12.5 billion flowers per year move through FloraHolland’s network of auction houses, and the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day are a key period for the European flower trade.

FloraHolland has maintained hour-by-hour operations updates on its website which suggest that despite industrial action, most flowers were in place by the 6am auction kick-offs, and that most or all had been sold and delivered by lunchtime with only minor delays.

On Friday afternoon a FloraHolland spokesman told The Coolstar he did not know how many staff had gone on strike but that there were enough workers to maintain operations.

“The strike started at 6pm Dutch time and is actually still going on but at this moment our process is done. Yesterday evening was a little exciting. During the night growers supply their flowers for auction and we need people to put them into cold storage. It took longer to prepare but we made it.

“At 6am it was also exciting because we did not know which auctioneers would start auctioning but we have 38 auction clocks across our three sites  and by 6:30am all clocks were running.

“Normally our process finishes by 12 o’clock and today the last delivery was at 1pm so it hasn’t been terrible.”

It is unclear whether more strikes will follow.

Earlier in the week, CNV Dienstenbond union representative Kitty Huntjens told The Coolstar that no negotiations were planned, although FloraHolland’s spokesman hinted that senior management had a busy schedule of meetings on Friday.

He added: “We have been inviting the unions for a couple of weeks and we still do because we want to negotiate but you need two parties to negotiate. It’s between the unions and us and we do not want to do this via the media.

“We don’t know if there will be more strikes. That is for the unions to decide.”

At the time of publication, The Coolstar was unable to reach Ms Huntjens for comment.


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