No more regional transport strikes as unions, employers reach labor agreement
The trade unions and employers in regional public transport have reached a deal on a new collective labor agreement, FNV negotiator Marijn van der Gaag told ANP. Employees will receive a structural 15 percent wage increase over 27 months and 1,000 euros once-off. Measures will also be taken to reduce the workload. Further strikes are, therefore, off the table.
Van der Gaag said he was “satisfied” with the results. “In terms of the pay rise, we are taking excellent steps.” He emphasized that union members still have to approve the deal.
“It has been a difficult process, but in the end, there is a result, and that is what it is all about. We are now going to present it to the members. All labor actions are suspended,” said CNV negotiator Hanane Chikhi about the deal achieved with the employers’ organization VWOV.
According to VWOV chairman Fred Kagie, these have been very intense discussions. “This result also means peace of mind for travelers and peace of mind for employees in our sector.” He will optimistically present the agreement to the VWOV members - the public transport companies Arriva, EBS, Keolis Nederland, RET, Transdev, and Qbuzz.
In recent months, employees in regional public transport went on multiple strikes, resulting in canceled buses and inconvenience for travelers. The main conflict in the negotiations was around wage increases. Given the high inflation, the unions wanted much more pay than the employers said they could offer.
It was also important for the unions to lower employees’ workload. They’ve made agreements about this, said Van der Gaag. There will be extra breaks and improvements to the schedules. The new collective labor agreement, which covers around 13,000 workers, also includes a scheme for older workers. According to VWOV, an employee who works 60 percent from age 63 receives 80 percent pay and accrues 100 percent pension.
Now that an agreement has been reached, months of actions in regional transport have come to an end. “The members and everyone who supported the campaigns achieved this. By reducing the workload, we ensure that there is room for normal breaks in the schedules and working in regional transport becomes more attractive again,” said Van der Gaag.
Negotiations for a smaller collective bargaining agreement in regional public transport, which covers about 1,300 people, are still ongoing. This concerns the employment conditions for staff of transport companies that offer both bus and train services.
Reporting by ANP