Labor strike to shut The Hague public transportation on June 2
Staff of HTM, the public transport company in The Hague, will go on strike all day on Thursday, 2 June. Labor unions FNV and CNV issued an ultimatum to the tram and bus operator serving the city and surrounding areas calling for a better collective labor agreement. HTM did not want to meet the requirements, so actions will be taken by the workers.
The unions had actually wanted to go on strike earlier, but they chose not to stop working until June, partly due to the school exam calendar. FNV and CNV are demanding a wage increase of 5 percent and more retention of purchasing power. HTM announced earlier Wednesday that it would raise wages by 3.1 percent this year, despite the absence of a collective labor agreement.
According to FNV director Eric Vermeulen, the company tried to reduce the willingness to take action among HTM staff. "HTM came with an unpleasant surprise. They want to pay out the financial part of their final offer. At the same time, this indicates that they are not taking into account the workload for staff and retention of purchasing power," Vermeulen stated
HTM previously pointed out that it cannot meet all requirements due to the financial consequences of the coronavirus crisis, when far fewer travelers took the bus or tram due to the advice that everyone work from home. In a response, the transportation firm says it "deeply regrets the strike. Travelers are the victims of this. We have had a coronavirus crisis; we need all of the travelers. We would like to win them back and we depend on them for income," said an HTM spokesperson.
The Hague transportation company has more than 2,000 employees and transports approximately 325,000 travelers every day on thirteen tram lines and ten bus lines. The company says it will lose about a quarter of a million euros if no trams or buses run for a day.
HTM is not going to court to prevent the strike. "To go on strike is a great right, we don't want to interfere with that."
Besides The Hague, HTM is also responsible for public transport in surrounding places, such as Rijswijk, Westland, Zoetermeer, Leidschendam and Voorburg. The municipality of The Hague could not be reached for comment.
Reporting by ANP