Labor walkouts disrupting train traffic Netherlands this week; Nat'l strike Saturday
A brief strike action on Wednesday morning disrupted railway traffic around Alkmaar, Amersfoort, Amsterdam and Utrecht, and led to overcrowded train cars after the workers returned to their posts. A similar strike will happen on Thursday morning, which will cause problems in Dordrecht, The Hague, Roosendaal and Rotterdam, with a national strike expected on Saturday.
ProRail employees in the FNV Spoor trade union launched the protest to demand a new collective bargaining agreement. They picketed at control center posts on Wednesday from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., with operations gradually returning to normal over the course of the morning, national railway NS said. In other regions, trains operated according to the regular timetable where possible.
Aside from the cities in Zuid-Holland and Noord-Brabant affected on Thursday, more areas will be hit on Friday. That day will see protest actions organized in Arnhem, Eindhoven, Groningen, Maastricht, and Zwolle.
The strike occurred between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. and most trains were expected to resume operating by 10 a.m. according to the railway company NS. In the other regions, trains operated according to the regular timetable as much as possible. Passengers were advised to check the online journey planner shortly before departure, to make sure their trip was not hindered by the strike.
A 24-hour strike is scheduled to take place from early Saturday morning to Sunday morning across the whole country. That could cause a major disruption preventing trains everywhere in the Netherlands from normal operation, starting at 5 a.m.
The members of FNV Spoor want better terms in their next collective contract. The two sides are separated by issues about the length of the contract, the percentage of wage increases, and the early retirement scheme.
The NS advised that passengers through Sunday morning check online route planners before going to train stations to make sure their trip was not hindered by the strike.