Iron Rhine in the Netherlands. Photo: Dolph Cantrijn/Hollandse Hoogte

Dutch railway workers on strike this week, starting Wednesday

Railway workers in the Netherlands have announced a series of strikes from Wednesday to Saturday this week. The strikes are organised by trade union FNV Spoor, because no agreement could be reached with infra manager ProRail on a new collective labor agreement. For Saturday, a 24-hour strike is on the agenda. ProRail expects a lot of inconvenience for railway undertakings.

After months of consultation, ProRail made a final offer on 1 March to the trade unions CNV Vakmensen, VHS Railprofessionals and FNV Spoor. The first two agreed with this offer and are currently in talks with ProRail about the ‘Early retirement scheme’. FNV’s supporters, however, rejected the offer, after which the association issued an ultimatum to ProRail.

Actions

FNV Spoor reports that there are protests at various traffic control posts throughout the country, which means that in certain regions and beyond, fewer or no trains run. On Wednesday, there will be campaigning in the regions of Utrecht, Amsterdam and Alkmaar. On Thursday, the FNV members express their objections in the regions of The Hague, Rotterdam, Dordrecht and Roosendaal. On Friday there will be strikes in the regions of Eindhoven, Maastricht, Arnhem, Zwolle and Groningen.

According to ProRail, these regional strikes mean that train traffic can only be started after 08:00, which takes time. As a result, the railway manager expects train traffic to be disrupted at least until 10:00 am. “Although the campaigns are organised regionally from Wednesday to Friday, there is a good chance that the effect will also be noticeable in other parts of the country”, says ProRail.

FNV has announced a 24-hour strike on Saturday 5 am to Sunday 5 am. ProRail expects that if the national campaign continues on Saturday, no train traffic will be possible throughout the country that entire day.

Services

Hans-Willem Vroon of interest group RailGood speaks about “the next disaster week in ProRail’s services” that is now heading rail operators and their customers. “A sad moment at a time when rail wants to attract customers for a modal shift and the overlying objectives of sustainable climate-friendly transport.”

Author: Marieke van Gompel

Marieke van Gompel is editor of RailFreight.com and chief editor of the ProMedia Group online magazines.

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