Dutch cities face shutdown by public transport strike
13 October 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Thursday's nationwide public transport strike will not only affect trains and regional buses — trams and buses will also stop operating in several Dutch cities as the main unions protest against the Cabinet's budget cuts.
13 October 2004
AMSTERDAM — Thursday's nationwide public transport strike will not only affect trains and regional buses — trams and buses will also stop operating in several Dutch cities as the main unions protest against the Cabinet's budget cuts.
Trade union FNV Bondgenoten said public transport in Rotterdam will not operate for the entire day and no trams or buses will run in Utrecht between 10am and 2pm. City buses will not operate in Groningen or in Maastricht.
But employees of public transport authority in The Hague, known as HTM, will not participate in the strike. Buses and metros will also operate in Amsterdam, news agency ANP reported.
Dutch national rail operator NS expects trains across the Netherlands, including international services, will not operate between 5am Thursday to 2am Friday. It said international travellers could cancel their tickets without cost or change their booking.
Dutch motorists association ANWB has warned that commuters should stay at home or to leave early on Thursday due to longer and earlier delays on the nation's roads in the morning peak-hour period.
The ANWB's traffic service will also offer half-hourly traffic reports from 5am, earlier than usual. The reports will give listeners information about the worst problems on the nation's public transport network, RTL News reported.
But the Department of Public Works and Waterways expects minimal problems on Thursday, claiming that most people have anticipated the strike and will take the day off, drive to work with a colleague or work from home. Nevertheless, it said poor weather could negatively influence the situation.
The province of South Holland has ordered bridgemasters to adjust the operation of bridges by allowing as many ships as possible to assemble before opening bridges on the nation's roads.
Trade union confederations FNV, CNV and MHP are conducting a rolling industrial campaign against the government's socio-economic policies. Thursday's strike follows similar actions in Amsterdam and Rotterdam and a protest in Amsterdam on 2 October which attracted 300,000 demonstrators.
The cabinet has unveiled EUR 2.5 billion in budget cuts, but is expected to reduce that by about EUR 1 billion in response to an alternative plan proposed by coalition government MPs.
And despite moves to re-open negotiations with unions, the cabinet is refusing to discuss the abolition of tax breaks on early retirement schemes. Unions are also protesting against cuts to social security and healthcare.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news