Bus strike continues despite deal

A new conflict has emerged in the ongoing dispute over regional bus drivers’ pay. Although employers and trade unions reached a agreement in principle on Friday evening, strikes will continue until a definitive solution can be found for financing the deal reached by the two sides, report various media at the weekend.

According to Saturday’s NRC Handelsblad around €31m is needed.
The employers and unions believe that junior transport minister Tineke Huizinga agreed to make a financial contribution to solving the long-running dispute during a parliamentary debate on Thursday evening, says the paper.
But a spokesman for the minister told the paper that there was never any suggestion that the government would become involved in pay negotiations between employers and unions. ‘It is idiotic to think that we would contribute to the labour agreements of private companies,’ a ministry spokesman told the NRC.
Under the deal reached between the regional bus companies Connexxion, Veolia and Arriva and unions on Friday, bus drivers would get a pay rise of 3.5% from January 2008 and 2% from January next year as well as a 0.5% increase in their year-end bonus, says the NRC. On top of this bus drivers would be able to voluntarily ‘cash in’ vacation days.
Meanwhile the bus strikes are due to continue outside the rush hours.

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