First 24-hour NS train strike set for Wednesday in Northern Netherlands
The FNV labor union is calling on its employees of the Dutch railway NS to go on strike in the Northern region of the Netherlands on Wednesday. "That is now final. As far as we are concerned, there will not be any trains in the region from 4 a.m. to 4 a.m.," says a spokesperson for the union.
NS employees are expected to go on strike for the 24-hour period in Groningen, Leeuwarden, Lelystad, Zwolle and also the Groningen town of Onnen, he said. The NS operates a maintenance facility in the town. "We have just issued the strike call to our members for the first 24-hour strike on Wednesday in the Northern region. We find it incomprehensible that the NS has let it get to this," said the FNV spokesperson.
The union previously announced the relay strike in the north of the country. After the Northern region, strikes will take place in other areas. The labor actions were announced after the failed collective labor agreement negotiations between the NS and the trade unions FNV, CNV and VVMC.
The relay strikes will last until the end of August. If the unions do not reach a satisfying collective bargaining offer, there will be a nationwide strike, the FNV spokesperson said.
An ultimatum that the unions had issued to the NS recently expired. They rejected a final offer from the public transport company, because it did not come close enough to their demands.
One of the collective labor agreement requirements is automatic compensation for price increases to be built into the salary of NS employees. They also want a one-off bonus payment of 600 euros, and an adjustment to the early retirement scheme.
According to a spokesperson for the NS, the railway company is still trying to sort out the expected impact the strike will have on its timetable and its passengers. “Of course we will try to inform travelers about this as quickly as possible," she said.
The spokesperson added that "the door is open" for the FNV to continue talks "to arrive at a good collective labor agreement." She did not want to say if the NS was prepared to meet FNV’s demands, saying only, "We see enough reason to continue the conversation."
Reporting by ANP