No more train strikes as union members accept NS labor agreement
A large majority of FNV and CNV members at the Dutch rail company NS have agreed to the new collective labor agreement. The trade unions and transport company reached the deal after multiple days of train strikes. New work stoppages are definitely off the table.
Of the about 5,000 FNV members consulted, 81 percent voted in favor of the collective bargaining agreement, and 18 percent voted against it. One percent abstained from voting. At CNV, 89 percent voted in favor.
The NS strikes brought train traffic to a standstill in large parts of the Netherlands. On some days, the strikes halted train traffic throughout the country.
On September 11, after six days of strikes, NS promised a structural wage increase of an average of 9.25 percent and benefits of twice 1,000 euros. The rail company also promised some form of compensation for the high inflation.
Negotiators from the trade unions FNV, CNV, and VVMC agreed with the improved offer, but their members had the last word. FNV and CNV members had until midnight to vote. VVMC’s consultations were still ongoing on Tuesday morning. Legally, the employer only needs one trade union to agree to a collective labor agreement to declare it valid.
The high workload is a major sore spot for conductors, drivers, and other personnel. FNV warned its members that the new collective labor agreement would not immediately relieve the workload. But added: “A good collective labor agreement is essential to get the 2,200 vacancies filled and keep them that way.”
CNV negotiator Ike Wiersinga said it is now essential to work with NS on improvements. “NS faces major challenges due to staff shortages, work pressure, and high absenteeism. The attitude of politicians, which sets the preconditions and the high demands, does not help,” he said.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times