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Two-day transport strike on as Dutch bus drivers’ unions protest working conditions

Expats in the Netherlands, prepare for travel delays and traffic jams as Dutch transport unions begin a second round of strikes.

Dutch labor unions CNV and FNV are striking today, 30 April, and tomorrow, 1 May after they say bus companies ignored ultimatums union officials gave them about improving working conditions.

Buses and regional Arriva trains won’t run, according to media reports.

BUT, neither state-run NS trains nor city transport in The Hague and Amsterdam will be affected, according to a news release from FNV. The RET city transport will run in Rotterdam, but not the RET regional buses.

The unions represent about 12,000 transit workers across the Netherlands working both for non-NS trains and private bus and train operators such as Hèrmes, part of Connexxion Public Transport/Transdev.

Employers had until 24 April to meet the demands of the trade union and the bus drivers, according to the release.

From the release:

Members of FNV who work in regional transport want tough agreements about reducing work pressure. Employers refuse that. Passengers also suffer daily from the high workload. They are faced with delays due to tight driving times and therefore miss their connection.

The courts threw out a last-minute legal action by employers to stop the strike.

The FNV release hinted the union and bus companies might come to an agreement this weekend, but as of Monday morning, the strike is on.

On its website, the FNV states the union is organizing a march through Den Haag, capital of the Netherlands, tomorrow, 1 May. The union is picking up the cost of union members’ NS train tickets to Den Haag, which adds a certain amount of irony.

This would be the second transport strike since January.

In January, the CNV/FNV strike cut bus and train service causing massive delays in Eindhoven, where Dispatches is based. Now the unions are upping the pressure with a two-day strike.

The unions struck then for better working conditions, saying extreme pressure to stick to their schedules forces them to go long periods without meals and bathroom breaks. The unions are also fighting for raises.

You can see further union updates here on the FNV website.

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