CASE 1 V&D and the unions The conflict: to stave off bankruptcy in early 2015 high street retailer V&D wanted to structurally lower the salaries of its employees by 5,8%. The unions refused and initiated summary proceedings to stop V&D. The result: the court in preliminary judgement enjoined V&D from lowering the salaries and V&D appealed. The court of appeal gave the parties three weeks to solve their dispute in mediation. If no solution was reached, the court would render its decision on whether V&D could lower the salaries. The solution: in mediation V&D and the unions agreed, inter alia, to a reorganization costing 400 jobs, implementation of a social plan for the employees involved, and a collective agreement for all other employees. Comment (daily newspaper De Volkskrant): ‘The agreement seems to end the trench warfare that the V&D board and the unions have fought since January.’ CASE 2 A successful failure The conflict: a small software company had developed customary software for a large utility. After paying for part of the services, the customer rejected the software. The supplier insisted that the program met the agreed requirements and demanded payment of the remainder of its fees The utility then initiated proceedings demanding dissolution of the agreement, repayment of the fees and compensation of damage. The result: As the agreement contained a mediation clause, the parties appointed a mediator to assist them in solving the dispute. The solution: after a half day meeting the parties agreed that the software company would repay half the amount it had received (but no damage compensation) and would retain all the intellectual property rights to the software. Comment: the parties avoided a long and costly litigation. The software company soon found another customer for the software.