Public transport grindsto halt in council strikes
9 June 2005, AMSTERDAM — Public transport in Amsterdam and Utrecht was non-existent on Thursday as municipal council staff staged a 24-hour strike.
9 June 2005
AMSTERDAM — Public transport in Amsterdam and Utrecht was non-existent on Thursday as municipal council staff staged a 24-hour strike.
City trams, buses and metros are not operating, but the intercity services of Dutch rail NS are running as normal. Regional bus transport is also available.
A spokesman for public service union Abvakabo said a large amount of staff of the Amsterdam and Utrecht's transport authorities were heeding the call to strike.
"No bus or train is operating from Central Station in Amsterdam," the spokesman said, adding that because passengers had been aware of the strike, very few were seen waiting for transport.
Public transport will not operate in Rotterdam between 11am and 2pm.
Sanitation and garbage collection workers in Amsterdam and Zoetermeer are also striking, while garbage will be collected in Utrecht on Thursday.
In addition, public service desks at town halls across the country are expected to close or be understaffed for the day.
However, city councils have downplayed talk of a nation-wide strike, stressing that many workers will be on duty on Thursday as per usual.
A protest will be staged later on Thursday at Museumplein in Amsterdam, where unions expect 10,000 public servants to demonstrate for better pay and work conditions.
Unions Abvakabo and Publieke Zaak are protesting in support of regulations forcing workers in physically tough jobs, such as firefighters, to take an early pension between the age of 55 and 60.
The association of municipal councils, VNG, is demanding the compulsory nature of the regulation be abolished, claiming it is illegal under new laws against age discrimination.
Unions are also demanding a 1.25 percent wage rise for the nation's 190,000 council staff this year, rejecting a 0.6 percent offer from the VNG.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news