Bus drivers intimidated during strike: report

Connexxion bus (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Bartjk). (Connexxion bus (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Bartjk))

Bus drivers faced intimidation during a nationwide regional public transit strike on Wednesday. According to employers association VWOV, drivers who decided to work were faced with striking colleagues taking photos of them and buses buses being blocked at the gate. According to union FNV, it was the other way around and the striking drivers were intimidated, RTL Nieuws reports.

A VWOV spokesperson told RTL that in Hoorn photos were taken of employees who were willing to work. In Zoetermeer and Heinenoord, buses were blocked from departing by people standing in front of them or by trashcans placed in front of the gate. Should there be reason to do so, specific steps will be taken against employees who intimidated their colleagues, the spokesperson said.

According to Paula Verhoef of FNV, it is actually the strikers who are being intimidated. Employees were called in advance and asked whether or not they would strike, and then asked not to strike, she said to the broadcaster. Verhoef also said that temporary workers were hired to break the strike, and that striking employees are not being allowed to go inside and use the bathroom.

Verhoef acknowledged that some photos were taken, but says it is to prove that temporary workers are used to break the strike. "We have to be able to demonstrate this at the inspectorate", she said to the broadcaster. She knows of one incident in which a bus was stopped. According to her, emotions ran high. "But there was rapid action and it has been resolved."