A city that has struggled with transport troubles in recent days is on the brink of a new setback: the workers who maintain trash cans, pick up our garbage, and dole out parking tickets are preparing to strike this week, saying conditions are hard and their pay has not kept up with inflation.
They are among 600 workers for the city of Groningen who say they will walk off the job as soon as Friday, after weeks of failed contract negotiations with the city.
Calling out, what they call, ‘insufficient compensation,’ the city employees plan to strike for four days in a dispute over pay.
“These workers are seriously concerned about high inflation, expensive groceries and high energy bills,” says Shirley Harms, FNV labor union’s regional officer. “Their incomes lag far behind. A wage increase of five percent is nowhere near enough to compensate for these expenses.”
This means there will be no kerbside trash collections and no underground garbage system emptying from Friday through Monday.
At issue in the contract negotiations: a cost-of-living increase. The union is asking for a €100 wage raise across the board and market adjustments that are higher than what the city has so far offered.
Further walkouts are on the cards if an agreement is not reached, the union warns.
“The City remains hopeful that an agreement will be reached in good faith,” Natascha van ‘t Hooft, a spokesperson for the municipality, said. “We believe these workers deserve a good collective agreement, and hope bargaining negotiations will continue.”