Friday train strike to include Amsterdam, Rotterdam; NS may make new offer soon
The NS strike on Friday will affect train traffic in most of Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland, trade union FNV confirmed to NL Times. That includes the major cities Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague. NS may make a new offer soon to try and forestall the latest round of relay strikes. “We hope that it does not come down to a strike,” an NS spokesperson said to NL Times.
Friday’s strike will also affect Leiden, Dordrecht, and Almere. It would include the area around Schiphol Airport. However, the Dutch rail company previously managed to run a limited number of trains between Amsterdam Central Station and the airport during a previous strike.
The NS employees are striking for a better collective bargaining agreement after negotiations between NS and trade unions FNV, CNV, and VVMC failed. NS previously said that some of the unions’ demands are practically unfeasible, but the company is still willing to negotiate.
A spokesperson for the NS told NL Times on Tuesday, “The ball is in our court.” She would not definitively say that new contract terms will be offered by the end of Tuesday. The spokesperson said that the railway is considering what it can do so that the unions decide to call off the labor action themselves.
Trade union FNV has not yet received an invitation from NS to talk, nor any details of a new offer. “It really has to be substantial,” an FNV spokesperson told NL Times. He said his union would like to see something from the railway on Tuesday, especially since the NS has acknowledged that it is the railway’s turn to make a move.
If it does come to a strike, NS will elaborate on the impact on its operations as the first strike day draws nearer. It was too early to say whether it would be possible to keep the trains running to Schiphol Airport or how international train routes may be affected.
NS reiterated what the railway said to other media outlets immediately after the announcement from the unions. "The door is still open and we would like to sit down with colleagues," the railway told ANP. "It is in the interest of our colleagues to come to a good collective labor agreement. We will take the initiative."
Jerry Pique from union CNV Vakmensen told ANP that an offer does not necessarily mean the strikes will be called off, as it depends on the terms the NS presents. "But it has to come [on Tuesday], otherwise it's really too late.”