[Update: Strike Cancelled] NS reduced service due to strike
Update: Due to a court ruling, the strike is no longer going ahead. On Friday NS will be operating to its normal timetable but advises travellers to plan their trip with ns.nl.
NS drivers and conductors who are members of the VVMC trade union will go on strike Friday in the Randstad (the central, western, metropolitan area of the Netherlands). The NS stated the strike will have "major impacts across the country".
When the strikes starts
The union announced that staff will not be working until 11am on December 23, mainly affecting those commuting to work.
It is not known how many members are scheduled to stop working on Friday, nor how many will actually stop working. However, numbers are predicted to be high.
Why the strike is happening
The VVMC stated the strike is taking place because the NS did not respond in a timely manner to demands from the union following the dissatisfaction of the work packages that were introduced in September.
The NS had restricted drivers and conductors to fixed routes that are short and monotonous, rather than allowing workers to change and add a bit of variety to their timetable. This means that drivers and conductors are only able to cover a specific number of journeys in one day from one location, which they have coined "rondje om de kerk".
Rondje om de kerk (a trip around the church) is a Dutch expression that refers to a short trip around the neighbourhood.
The VVMC members find that they often have to travel the same routes since there has been a decrease in the number of intercity trains and an increase in the number of slower stop-trains.
The NS responded with a statement, "We deeply regret that the VVMC have announced a strike, especially since this was so close to the holidays". The NS emphasised however, that the union had been invited for talks on several occasions and therefore believe the strikes were implemented too soon.
The NS also stated that they immediately acknowledged that many of their staff were dissatisfied with the work packages on offer, and had invited staff to suggest improvements.
In response to this, the NS added hundreds of additional operator services a week to vary the work more, and claimed that other improvements, which they are positive about, would be implemented from April 2017.
For specific changes