Public transit strike on Thursday to hit Dutch regional transit, Utrecht trams

Arriva_Lint_Bramming David Arthur Wikimedia commons

Dutch labor union FNV has announced a massive regional transit strike scheduled to take place on Thursday that will shut down many public transportation routes including tram lines in Utrecht. The planned action is because workers could not get guarantees to reduce job stress, and a proposed salary increase is smaller than demanded.

The strike will last for the entire day, although overnight service before and after the strike will be unaffected. The NS national trains will not be hampered by the strike, but regional bus and train providers will be hampered, including Arriva, Connexxion, EBS, and Keolis.

Utrecht transit service provider Q-Buzz will not run their schedule. "We advise you to stay at home on Thursday, 4 January, or to arrange alternative transport," Q-Buzz said on the Utrecht public transit website.

"The employers are willing, and remain willing, to continue negotiations," Q-Buzz added in a statement, noting that a final offer had not been made by employers' representatives. "The unions have chosen to break off the negotiations and organize a strike."

"The bosses in the public transport are slowly becoming slave traders", said Paula Verhoef of FNV, adding, "Drivers have to work during their breaks in order to keep their schedules. The boss is always keeping track of their movements through their on-board computers. That is a suffocating regime."

Employers in the regional transport network had already received an ultimatum where the employees demanded clear and concrete agreements regarding the reduction of work pressure, and a salary increase of 3.5% over a period of 12 months. But until now those companies have refused to come to terms over job demands, according to FNV. A salary increase capped at two percent was the closest transit firms would come to the proposed wage increase.

Nearly every part of the Netherlands will be affected in one way or another. Arriva operates in nine provinces, including Drenthe, Flevoland, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen, Noord-Brabant, Limburg, Overijssel, and Zuid-Holland. 

Connexxion and EBS buses are very visible in and around Amsterdam. Connexxion also provides mass transit to the Hague region, parts of Drenthe, and many other areas. Their trains operate in Amersfoort, Barneveld, Ede and Wageningen, with ferry service between Maassluis and Rozenburg. 

Like QBuzz, Keolis also provides service to parts of Utrecht, but also Almere in Flevoland, Gelderland, and several cities in Overijssel

QBuzz also serves all of Drenthe, and much of Groningen. 

FNV announced that unless employers come to terms on a new contract, more and longer strikes will follow. The regional transport network accounts for around 12,000 workers.



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