If it is not possible to reach an agreement between the social partners on working conditions in a particular sector, the Minister of Social Affairs can, at the request of the social partners, set the appropriate standards. These provisions have a substantive and binding effect, which is similar to collective agreements or collective agreements that are generally binding according to procedures.  In practice, this power is rarely used by the Minister. Most economic sectors have a working collective bargaining system. Although it is sometimes difficult to reach an agreement, the government will not intervene. But if, for whatever reason, there is no reasonable bargaining system, then the specific procedure of the Wage Training Act can be applied. The most recent example is the regulation on the working conditions of seafarers (refreezing arbeidsvoorwaarden zeevaart).  In the Netherlands, the legal status of trade unions and the labour relations system are essentially based on general rules, on the one hand, and international agreements on the other. Although collective agreements and their general applicability are covered by special laws, the negotiation process that led to their conclusion was little or no consideration by Parliament. The Constitution does not contain articles specifically related to industrial relations. The freedom to form trade unions, to work as such and to be members is covered by the right of association guaranteed by Article 8 of the Constitution.  Trade unions as institutions are subject to the rules of association of Articles 26 and following of the Civil Code.  The right to strike has not been codified and is based on case law.
This lack of constitutional protection has not hindered the development of trade unions and industrial relations in the Netherlands. This is partly the result of the Dutch system of judicial review, which significantly reduces the legal effects of the Constitution and instead favours international conventions. The legislator corrected by the courts cannot be based on a violation of the Constitution: Article 120 of the Constitution explicitly states that the courts do not rule on the constitutionality of international statutes and conventions. However, courts may defer legal provisions if they violate provisions of the treaty that have a direct effect on the Dutch legal order.  The European Social Charter (Article 6, paragraph 4, the right to strike is recognised as directly effective), the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Convention on Social and Economic Rights. Employers also have other specific obligations in the negotiation of individual agreements, both for existing workers negotiating new agreements (or amendments to an agreement) and for potential workers. In these situations, the employer must: collective bargaining has more information about the different conditions and tariff options. A well-written employment contract helps the worker and employer know what is expected of them and what they are entitled to. This means that misunderstandings are less likely to arise, and if a problem arises, then workers and employers can go to the employment contract to clarify things.