An end to the Dutch train strikes? NS and trade unions reach agreement
After several weeks of regional train strikes across the Netherlands, Dutch trade unions and rail company Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) have reached an agreement, confirming that the strikes scheduled for this week will no longer be going ahead.
NS and Dutch trade unions reach agreement after weeks of negotiations
It’s been a long and chaotic summer for public transport in the Netherlands, with travellers facing strikes across various national and regional routes as operators struggled to manage the demands of unionised workers. The past few weeks have seen the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV), Christian National Trade Union (CNV), and VVMC organise various strikes amongst NS workers after negotiations over a new collective labour agreement broke down at the beginning of August.
Over one month later, Sunday morning saw NS announce that they’d finally been able to negotiate a new collective labour agreement for workers. The new contract has been presented to union members for approval, and once their support has been confirmed the terms will be enforced with retroactive effect from July 1, 2022. The announcement means that the regional strikes scheduled to take place on Tuesday and Thursday will no longer be going ahead.
In a statement, NS CEO Bert Groenewegen said he was pleased, adding that the agreement marked “an important step towards a healthy future for our colleagues.” However, Groenewegen did emphasise that the news wouldn’t resolve all concerns about working conditions and staff shortages: “Together, all the [problems] present us with a difficult task that is not easy to solve, but which we are fully working on and will continue to do.”
Salaries of NS workers to increase by 9,25 percent
As part of the new collective labour agreement, salaries will increase by 9,25 percent and workers have been guaranteed an additional bonus of up to 1.000 euros for full-time workers in both 2022 and 2023. Changes have also been made to ensure a better work-life balance, and workers will now benefit from higher pension contributions and new rules for guaranteed temporary leave.
In addition to these changes, NS has committed to further agreements should inflation in 2022 and 2023 be higher than the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) estimates.
Some passengers might be concerned about what the higher wages might mean for the price of train tickets, but so far NS has been unable to provide any reassurance on the matter. Regardless of these latest changes, like every year, prices are guaranteed to rise on January 1.