Strike: Most NS trains cancelled tomorrow, incl. international lines; Some Schiphol trains to run
Nearly all of the trains operated by Dutch national railway NS will be cancelled on Tuesday. The train operator said on Monday that the labor strike by railway workers planned for the central region of the country will make it impossible to run most train routes. There will not be a replacement bus service to provide transportation as an alternative.
"Due to the impact of Tuesday's actions, no NS trains can run in the Netherlands all day, with the exception of the Amsterdam Central – Schiphol route," the NS said in a statement. The trains to the airport will run four times per hour, but the train operator still suggested people find other ways of getting to Schiphol.
The NS said that international trains operated by Eurostar and Thalys will be able to go ahead as planned. However, other international train routes will be cancelled. Additionally, trains operated by regional carriers should continue to operate, except the route between Alphen aan den Rijn and Gouda. This line is operated by NS for R-ret, the regional public transport provider for the Randstad area.
"We advise travellers to postpone their trip, or to arrange replacement transport themselves," the NS said. "We find it extremely irritating that travellers are suffering so much from the impact of the strikes."
Because the Central Netherlands includes Utrecht, which is an endpoint for many routes while many others run through the city, the NS said the cancellations were inevitable. "In addition, many colleagues work here on the day-to-day coordination of personnel and trains for the entire country. If they stop working, this will have far-reaching consequences for the timetable throughout the Netherlands."
Tuesday's strike will be the fourth in a series of one-day labor actions by FNV Spoor, VVMC, and CNV trade unions. The first hit the Northern Netherlands on Wednesday, then, two days later, no NS trains were operational in Zuid-Holland. The third strike impacted Noord-Holland, including Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport, on Monday. However, the NS was still able to maintain a portion of its timetable during the previous strikes by isolating the strike area as much as possible.
The strikes were called after the unions gave the NS an ultimatum during negotiations on a collective bargaining agreement, which expired two weeks ago. The unions and the train operator remained far apart in contract talks. The unions want their employees to receive an automatic increase in compensation whenever the NS raises ticket prices. They also want a one-time payment of 600 euros per worker, and an adjustment to early retirement schemes.
"We understand the concerns and messages from our colleagues," said Bert Groenewegen, the acting CEO of NS. "You don't just go on strike. That is why we would like to talk to the trade unions in order to come to a good collective labor agreement.”