Monday, December 15, 2014 - 20:06
Train conductors concerned about increased workload
Passengers on Dutch national rail carrier NS will find their waiting times shortened as the transportation firm rolls out their new schedule, putting more trains on the tracks. The service increase comes at a time when the company's conductors and workers say they are concerned that they are overworked with minimal time for breaks, and no rest in between hours-long routes. NS Intercity trains departing every half an hour is now standard in the new schedule, which officially began on Sunday. The new schedule renders train drivers and conductors with a cut in break time, the workers' union says. "The new timetable is only placing more pressure on the 6000 drivers and conducters", said a spokesman for VVMC, the union for train operators and ticket controllers. The timetable allows less time for drivers and conductors to prepare for the next journey, he said. Union FNV seems to be in agreement, asking "Where will it end?" Train conductors and ticket control workers staged a brief stoppage affecting parts of Rotterdam and Den Haag earlier this month. The workers held a mandatory meeting about the lack of breaks just as rush hour began to pick up steam, effectively shutting down certain routes in Zuid Holland. NS announced that it aims to recruit fifty additional train drivers and fifty new head-conductors in the near future, as well as an additional twenty employees at the control room, and 75 more to be of assistance to drivers and conductors, in an effort to reduce delays. NS wishes to consult with it's personnel and the unions to further discuss actions and solutions, the rail operator said. The unions say they approve of the hirings as a first step in the right direction, but they expect to see further measures taken. The unions have also claimed that they are patiently awaiting a significant decrease in the drivers' workload.