Just one month after a 24-hour walkout left Qbuzz and Arriva working at reduced capacity in Groningen, transport workers are set to strike again this week following failed talks over the collective labor agreement CAO. The strike was called by the FNV labor union federation which said that the public transport workers’ salaries and employment conditions “are not attractive enough”, according to the Dagblad van het Noorden.
On October 19, 20 and 21, Qbuzz bus drivers and Arriva train workers affiliated with the FNV will walk out in Drenthe, Friesland and Groningen in protest over poor working conditions. Despite attempts by both parties to find a solution, the union has rejected the transport companies’ new CAO as insufficient, resulting in the call for industrial action.
Core demands from the FNV include a pay raise and the reduction of the workload for bus drivers and train crews through limiting duty times and hiring new staff. The FNV is opposed to the current CAO agreement and finds the wage offer for the year 2023 “ridiculously low and a slap in the face of the employees.”
Making sense of it
Employers’ organisation VWOV, which represents the regional transport firms, has criticized the FNV’s regular practice of working employees up to the legal limits, arguing that it places a significant burden on staff and commuters. “The FNV’s call for a strike makes no sense. It hurts the passengers, it costs the striking employees money, it costs the public transport companies money, and it damages the reliability of transport services and the reputation of the sector,” VWOV chairmain Fred Kagie said.
There have been a number of industrial actions over pay issues in the Netherlands in recent months, such as the successfully concluded strike at NS – all displaying concerns amid the ongoing cost of living crisis. Arriva and Qbuzz drivers are covered by a different collective labor accord than that of their NS colleagues.