Court orders rush-hour bus service

Judges in Groningen have ordered striking bus drivers in Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe to return to work during the rush hour from Thursday because it is ‘socially disruptive’.

The decision means Wednesday is the 11th and final day of an all-out strike affecting most of the country.
The case was brought by the public transport users lobby group Rover and the three northern provinces, which argued that people were being severely affected by the strike.
Rover said on Tuesday it hoped the unions would now advise drivers not to strike during the rush-hour nationwide. Both the FNV and CNV transport unions are to hold talks with members on Wednesday.
FNV spokesman Janny Koppens said there was a strong chance that the strike would be called off during the rush-hour in other areas. ‘Otherwise the other provinces will take us to court as well.’
Rover said it was pleased with the verdict. ‘Of course we would rather have seen a total ban. But this means that at least commuters and students can get to work and school,’ a spokesman told news agency ANP.
Groningen provincial councillor Henk Bleker, who was behind the move for court action, said it was not about strike breaking. ‘It is about people who cannot get to work, school or hospital,’ he told the Volkskrant.
The court also told unions and employers to resume negotiations. If no deal was reached by August 12, an all-out strike would again be permitted, the judges said.
Until then, buses in the three provinces will only travel between 7am and 9am and 4pm and 7pm. If the unions fail to comply with these terms, they face a fine of €10,000 a day.

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