NS workers announce relay-strikes starting next week
Employees of Dutch railway company NS will strike next week and the week after. These are 24-hour relay strikes, starting in the north region next Wednesday. NS workers in the other four regions will take their turn to strike in the following days. The strikes follow failed collective labor agreement negotiations between NS and trade unions FNV, CNV, and VVMC.
No NS trains will run in the striking region, a spokesperson for FNV expects. The relay strikes will last until August 31. If NS does not present a collective bargaining offer that the unions are satisfied with by then, there will be a nationwide strike a week later, FNV said.
"Our members are well aware that they will affect passengers during the campaigns. That is unfortunate, but the nuisance is unavoidable and ultimately also in the passengers' interests. We now see that NS is not getting vacancies filled and that trains are canceled, and social safety is under serious pressure as a result," the union argued.
An ultimatum the unions gave NS expired last week. They rejected the public transport company's final offer because it did not come close enough to their demands. NS said in a response it is disappointed that it has come to strikes. A spokesperson could not yet say what impact the actions will have on travelers. According to NS, some of the unions' requirements are unfeasible. NS is in a difficult financial situation due to the coronavirus pandemic, which significantly decreased the number of train passengers, the company pointed out.
One of the union's demands for the labor agreement is automatic compensation for the price increases in NS employees' salaries. They also want a once-off payment of 600 euros and an adjustment to the scheme to stop working earlier.
After the north region, NS employees will strike in the west of the country on August 26. Three days later, the actions continue in the northwest region. On August 30, personnel will strike in the center region, and on August 31 in the east and south of the Netherlands.
Reporting by ANP