Train strikes looming as trade union gives NS an ultimatum in contract negotiations
Dutch rail company NS will receive an ultimatum from the trade unions on Friday. The unions give NS a week to agree to their requirements for the collective labor agreements, “otherwise actions and strikes will follow in the short term,” FNV director Henri Janssen said.
The unions have been negotiating with NS for some time, but the parties have been unable to reach an agreement after five rounds of talks. A large majority of FNV members rejected NS’s latest offer. They have already indicated that they are prepared to take action. The members of the VVMC trade union also voted against the latest collective labor agreement proposal.
“Our members are well aware that they will affect travelers during the campaigns. That is unfortunate, but the nuisance is inevitable and ultimately also in the interest of the travelers,” said Janssen.
FNV sees that NS does not get vacancies filled, which means, for example, that trains have to be canceled. According to Janssen, a decent collective labor agreement is essential in turning the tide. Only then can NS attract more people and further halt the exodus. “This will make the timetable reliable for passengers again, and employees' service and social safety will return to the previously high level.”
Among the unions’ main demands is the introduction of Automatic Price Compensation (APC) for all salaries to offset the rising cost of living. The unions also ask for a once-off payment of 600 euros based on a full-time job. The wages and salary scales must also be increased by 100 euros gross, and the hourly wages must be at least 14 euros per hour.
An NS spokesperson said that it is waiting for the unions’ message. “As far as we are concerned, we will continue to talk. In any case, the door is open.”
Reporting by ANP