Trade unions threaten regional transport strikes again
The FNV and CNV trade unions are issuing a new ultimatum to employers in the regional transport sector. The ultimatum gives employers until Feb. 20 to respond to their collective bargaining demands. If there is no response, new strikes will follow starting Feb. 22. Workers in the regional transport sector also went on strike across the country last week because they were dissatisfied with their working conditions.
The workload is also said to be too high because of the many sick workers, although employers dispute the figures cited by the unions. According to them, one in five workers is sick. According to the employers' association VWOV, the absenteeism rate is one in ten.
However, the VWOV said it still wants to reach a collective agreement with FNV and CNV and to work with initiatives that make this possible. "If the old ultimatums from the unions remain on the table, we see little possibility of getting out of this," a spokeswoman said, reporting that employers have not yet received the latest ultimatum. "If public transport companies don't make a profit, the parent companies don't make a profit either."
Negotiations between unions and employers over the major regional transportation collective bargaining agreement, which covers some 13,000 workers, particularly bus drivers, have reached an impasse. Before the strikes began, ultimatums were issued by both employers and unions. The unions threatened to strike if their demands were not met. The VWOV, in turn, would cancel the collective labor agreement offer that was pending if there were to be a strike.
The VWOV pointed out that an 8 percent salary increase for a one-year collective agreement was the highest achievable. The FNV and CNV, however, demanded a wage increase of nearly 17 percent spread over one year and 14 percent spread over 18 months.
To reinforce these demands, the unions called on their members to stop work for five days last week. As a result, some regional traffic was canceled. On several days, only half of all buses ran, according to the VWOV. Several trains were also canceled, including in the Achterhoek, Rivierenland and Limburg.
In addition to the negotiations on the large collective agreement, negotiations on the smaller collective agreement for multimodal transport have also stalled. This applies to around 1,300 employees of transport companies that offer both train and bus services, such as Arriva and Keolis. This mainly affects staff training. The VVMC union is negotiating this collective agreement, as are FNV and CNV. The latter two unions also went on strike for this collective agreement throughout the week. The VVMC called on its members to strike only on Wednesday and Friday.
Reporting by ANP