A Huge Transport Strike Across the Netherlands Is Coming!

12 May 2019

On May 28, a huge 24-hour transport strike will be carried out in the Netherlands. This strike will affect NS trains, along with public transport in the Dutch cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. Regional transport employees are also considering joining the strike.

Second chance at a strike

“On March 18, more than 40.000 people went on strike. Apparently, this did not make it clear enough to the Cabinet, as a serious response is yet to be had”, Vice-Chairman of FNV Tuur Elzinga. This strike is partly a do-over, as the last one was aborted due to the horrific attack in Utrecht.

As with the previous strike, this one is also to get the Dutch government to freeze the pension age at 66. Trade union FNV is also calling on employees in sectors such as construction and metal work, amongst others, to strike the following day, May 29, for 24 hours.

Striking for better pensions

Last year, negotiations between the unions, government and employers came to a standstill. Should the current pension regulations be adhered to, employees will only reach pension age in 2024 when they are 67 years and three months old. Whether or not the pension age will increase even more depends on life expectancy.

The Dutch labour unions want the pension age to be frozen at 66 and the fine for stopping earlier than this to be scrapped. They also want further indexation of pensions and for any negative consequences of the move to a new pension system to be covered. Moreover, they wish to make it possible for anyone to be able to build up a pension, freelancers and those with temporary contracts included.

“Our members want to reach pension age in good health! Right now that is almost impossible”, says Wim Eilert from the VVMC. He also raises the issues of aggression and suicide on the tracks, which are just a few of the difficult conditions that employees deal with. “For these employees, the pension age needs to be lowered!”

Leaders of other unions highlight similar points, and all arrive at a similar conclusion, namely that it is almost impossible to carry on to such an old age in these physically and emotionally demanding professions.

 

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