18 August 2022, by Victoria Séveno

Public transport across the Netherlands is set to be affected by various strikes from next week, as workers at Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) protest their salaries and benefits. 

NS workers call for higher salaries to offset the rising prices

This week, a number of Dutch trade unions – the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV), Christian National Trade Union (CNV), and VVMC – confirmed that thousands of people with jobs at NS would be striking after negotiations over a new collective labour agreement broke down earlier this month. 

The unions have issued a handful of demands, including a one-off bonus of 600 euros in 2023 to offset the high rate of inflation. They’re also insisting that all NS workers earn a minimum of 14 euros an hour, and that monthly salaries are raised by 100 euros (gross).  

While the unions say NS has left them with no other choice but to call a strike, a spokesperson for NS said the company is disappointed by the decision. “NS is in a difficult financial situation due to fewer travellers after the coronavirus pandemic, and points out to the unions that their demands lead to a wage increase of no less than 20 percent,” they explained.

Train strikes planned across the Netherlands from August 26 to 31

Various strike days have been planned across the country. The first one will take place on Wednesday, August 24 and will affect workers in the north of the Netherlands. Workers in the west will strike on August 26, with workers in the northwest and central areas following on August 29 and 30 respectively. The final day of strikes will take place in the eastern and southern regions on August 31. 

This decision will affect several major Dutch cities; the strikes are expected to fall on August 24 in Groningen, August 26 in The Hague and Rotterdam, August 29 in Amsterdam, August 30 in Utrecht, and August 31 in Eindhoven and Maastricht.

Each strike will last a total of 24 hours, and NS says it is not yet clear how the plans will affect travellers. Meanwhile, the unions say it’s likely that nationwide strikes will follow in early September if the rail company doesn’t comply with their demands.

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