NS, Cleaners optimistic on mediation

An NS train waiting on the tracks (Photo: TahR78/Wikipedia)
An NS train waiting on the tracks (Photo: TahR78/Wikipedia)An NS train waiting on the tracks (Photo: TahR78/Wikipedia)

NS-cleaners will be going to the NS headquarters in Utrecht in their thousands to thank the company for agreeing to mediate the collective labor agreement conflict about better working conditions. 

This week, cleaners working for the Dutch Rail company (NS) have been on strike, protesting poor working conditions. The trade union FNV demanded among other things two paid sick days, and a pay rise of 50 cents an hour. The cleaners also want to have discussions with employers' organization OSB.

"We have become the stage for the FNV", a spokesperson for the NS said. "And the passengers have become the victim. We therefore want the parties to talk as soon as possible, because we can't go further. Just like any other company, we hire a cleaning company. They are better at cleaning than we are."

As a result of the strike, the NS has asked office workers to volunteer for cleaning shifts to curb the pressure and avoid dangerous situations.

The OSB announced in a reaction that it does not see the good of mediation because the door to the union is open. "But then the FNV has to adjust its demands a bit", a spokesperson says. The organization reproaches the FNV for walking away from negotiations. The spokesperson does say that the OSB is open to 'compromise agreements'.

The fact that the NS has approached the negotiations does not mean an end to the strikes, FNV president Ron Meyer says. "In the last eight months we have pulled everything out of the bag. We did research, organized actions. None of that helped." According to Meyer, there was no other choice for the cleaners but to go on strike.

Since Wednesday, cleaners working at Amsterdam Centraal and Schiphol also joined in the strikes.