Many train workers will again go on strike in larger parts of the Netherlands
Employees of regional train services will soon go on strike again to demand better working conditions as part of the collective labor agreement for regional transport workers, said the VVMC labor union. The union recently held talks with employers, but the wage offer that followed was not "significant" and "still too low," said a spokesperson for VVMC. It is not yet known when the new strikes will take place, but according to the union, the strikes will cover several regions simultaneously.
The demonstration is specifically organized for the smaller group of workers represented under a contract with the providers of multiple forms of public transportation covering certain regions. About 1,300 employees are covered under the agreement, mainly train staff. The contract covers companies that offer both bus and train transport, such as Arriva and Keolis.
The train staff there already held strikes two days last week, including Thursday in Twente, Dordrecht, and Limburg, and in all regional territories on Friday. These labor actions took place simultaneously with the strikes as part of the larger regional transport collective agreement, which covers approximately 13,000 employees.
Nevertheless, a strike within the smaller collective labor agreement can indeed have a significant impact. For example, three previous strike days in December in the north of the country led to problems with the timetable in the entirety of the northern provinces. The train crews from Friesland also work on routes in Groningen and vice versa, so a reliable timetable could not be guaranteed.
Part of the VVMC demands includes maintaining the current level of purchasing power the employees have. The pressure the workers face must also be reduced. Earlier, the union already spoke of an "irreconcilable difference of views regarding the creation of a new collective labor agreement.” Keolis was not able to respond immediately to the strike on Tuesday night when asked. Arriva said it could not comment on the record because the carrier has not yet received an official notification.
Additionally, there is not yet a deal with the larger collective regional transport contract negotiations. Last week's strikes led to cancellations equaling 40 percent of the regional timetable. The CNV labor union did not participate in this strike because, at that time, the union was still discussing the level at which its members supported the strike.
On Tuesday evening, CNV reported that the transportation operators would soon be given an ultimatum. If there is no response, new actions will follow, the union said. The FNV union said it expects to provide more information on possible follow-up actions on Wednesday.
Reporting by ANP