Friday 13 December 2019

Rush-hour strike expected to cause train delays throughout Monday

Photo: DutchNews.nl

Train passengers have been warned to expect delays and disruption throughout Monday morning as a result of a strike by transport workers.

The 66-minute walkout, which also affected local public transport services such as trams, lasted from 6am to 7.06am and was held to protest against plans to increase the pension age.

Other protests included a slow procession on the A28 motorway towards the Hague by emergency services personnel, who drove at 66 km/h with blue lights flashing.

The ANWB said morning rush-hour traffic was slightly busier than normal, with around 600 km of tailbacks across the country.

The first train to run this morning left Utrecht at 7.33am, but the rail operator NS warned that it would take the rest of the day to clear the backlog. Commuters who boarded the first services faced packed carriages.

Public service unions are protesting against plans by the government to raise the pension age as part of a wider package of reforms. They are seeking a commitment from the cabinet not to force people to work beyond the age of 66.

Long-running talks between unions and employers to change the pension system broke down at the end of last year, at which point the cabinet said it would press ahead with its own plans.

The government has asked agencies including the economic planning bureau CPB to review the formula that will link the retirement age to life expectancy. Workers currently become eligible for their state pension (AOW) at the age of 66 years and 4 months, but this is rising incrementally to 67 years and 3 months by 2022.

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