Many buses across the north will move forward with a planned strike starting on Wednesday.
Translation by Traci White
The most recent round of labour negotiations between bus driver unions and employers have failed, so a number of drivers will go on strike on Wednesday. Arriva, Qbuzz, Keolis, EBS and HERMES bus drivers across the Netherlands will be on strike for at least 72 hours, but some bus drivers may strike even longer.
Qbuzz spokesperson Michel van der Mark told Dagblad van het Noorden that this is one of the worst possible times for the bus drivers to go on strike: the TT motorcycle race will be held this weekend, and students are still finishing up their final exams.
Van Der Mark says that Qbuzz is in talks with the academic institutions and will try to ensure that as many students as possible can still travel by bus. “It depends on the number of drivers who will be willing to come to work. During previous strikes, we still had about 10 percent of our busses running, and we are aiming for 20 percent this time.”
What about the trains?
Arriva trains in the north will not be impacted by the strike because they have a different labour contract than the bus drivers. However, the Leeuwarder Courant reports that the trains between Emmen and Zwolle could be cancelled due to the strike – travellers are encouraged to keep a close eye on the Arriva website for the latest updates.
The ongoing strikes are due to a conflict between the unions representing the bus drivers and their employers. The drivers say that their work load is extremely taxing, and their union is calling for a 3.5 percent raise, measures to lighten their work load and sufficiently long breaks for the drivers to go to the bathroom once every two and a half hours.
The employer’s organisation VWOV has agreed to look into providing longer breaks, but they say that the demands for higher wages and paid breaks are not financially feasible.