Regional transport workers are starting a new round of strikes as a dispute over a new pay deal shows no signs of ending.
A total of 15 rolling strike days are planned over the next six weeks, beginning on February 28 and running until April 7. The two unions involved, FNV and CNV, have not given details of which services are affected but have advised travellers to check their journey before setting out.
Talks between the unions and the transport sector association VWOV have so far failed to reach an agreement. The FNV is asking for a 16.9% pay rise over the next year, while the CNV has demanded 14% spread over 18 months.
Neither is prepared to go back to the negotiating table unless the VWOV raises its counter-offer of 11%.
Trains run by the national operator NS and most bus, tram and metro lines in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague are not affected as their staff are covered by a different agreement.
The last 12 months have been punctuated by strikes in public and private sectors as unions argue for double-digit pay increases to cover the rising cost of living, as well as improvements to working conditions.
Rolling bin strikes in 25 council areas, including the major cities, were called off last week after the local government association VNG agreed to a pay deal worth up to 13% for refuse collectors and 8% for higher-paid staff.
Retail and healthcare
Staff at the Bijenkorf have walked out 15 times since September as unions demand a 10% across the board pay rise, while other retail chains including Etos have also held strike days.
Taxi drivers under contract to the healthcare sector and bus companies organising school transport have held stoppages as unions demand higher wages and better compensation for sick days.
Hospital staff are set to down tools later this month after unions rejected a pay deal amounting to 13% over 18 months because wages would only go up by 5% this year. The four trade unions involved in the negotiations also want travel expenses to be increased and limits to working hours for doctors in training.
Even judges and prosecutors have taken the unprecedented step of threatening strike action after talks for a new deal broke down in December. Judges have given Franc Weerwind, minister for legal protection, two weeks to address their concerns about pay for trainee judges, a growing backlog of cases and personal security.
Unions say strikes in the commercial sector have delivered results, with drinks distributor Refresco raising its offer from 4% to 10% after FNV members walked out. Owase, which represents employers in the metal and plastics processing sector, offered 7% plus €135 over 18 months, after the CNV rejected a proposed one-year deal worth 2.5%.
The FNV says 15 strikes have been scheduled in the first two months of the year, compared to 22 for the whole of 2021, the last year for which official statistics are available.
The record year for strikes was 2017, when the government statistics agency CBS recorded a total of 32 labour stoppages.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation