Ambulance workers get 7.5% pay hike in new contract

After months of protests, actions and strikes, the ambulance workers n the Netherlands finally have a new collective bargaining agreement. A principle agreement has been reached that includes a 7.5 percent wage increase, union FNV Care and Welfare announced on Tuesday.

"After more than five months of regional actions and four weeks of nationwide strikes, Ambulancezorg Nederland finally met our demands today", FNV Care and Welfare director Fred Seifert said in a statement. He added that the ambulance workers now largely has the same agreements as hospital staff. "Indeed equal work deserves equal pay."

The new agreement includes a structural wage increase of 7.5 percent, no longer required to work night shifts after the age of 57 years and the irregular hours bonus during holidays will continue to be paid.

In addition, Ambulancezorg Nederland has also agreed to create permanent jobs for regular work. "Now holes were systematically filled with temporary workers. It is not fun when you, as an ambulance worker, have to guide your colleague while you are saving a life under great pressure. Temporary workers also do not always know the road so you also have to pay attention to the traffic. Fortunately the employer also recognized that this leads to unsafe situations and this practice will hopefully soon be scrapped." Seifert said.

Ambulance workers' last collective bargaining agreement expired on January 1st this year. This new agreement goes into force retroactive to January 1st and will run until 2018.