Regional transport strike starts, garbage collectors’ strike to spread

Waiting for the bus in Hengelo. Photo: Emiel Muijderman
Waiting for the bus in Hengelo. Photo: Emiel Muijderman

Regional transport workers began a five day strike nationwide on Monday but as yet it is unclear what the impact will be.

Both regional bus and train drivers and crew are taking part in the strike in support of more pay, which will affect Arriva, Transdev, Qbuzz, EBS, Keolis, RET Bus, Hermes and Connexxion services.

The FNV trade union federation said there was widespread support for the strike among its members, and that the impact is likely to be greatest in rural areas which depend on buses. The CNV federation is also supporting the campaign.

According to news website, at least one school in Limburg is preparing to give pupils who cannot get to school because of the strike online lessons.

Talks broke down last month when the FNV union, which represents thousands of train drivers, bus drivers and conductors, rejected a deal worth around 8%, with a further 3% next year plus measures to reduce the pressures on staff.

The public transport strike is just one in a string of industrial disputes in the Netherlands as unions call for pay rises to reflect inflation.

‘I have signed a number of ultimatums in the past month,’ CNV chairman Piet Fortuin told news website ‘Companies are trying to keep wage costs down and think 3% or 4% is enough. But workers are seeing what is happening in other sectors and are prepared to take action.’

Rubbish collectors have downed tools in several cities, including a week long strike in Utrecht, and that strike is set to spread this week.

High street chemists’ Etos has also been hit by strikes and last week talks on a pay deal for 200,000 hospital workers broke down.

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