Rail strike looms in pay dispute
23 May 2005, AMSTERDAM — The chance of a train strike grew stronger on Monday as union FNV Bondgenoten delivered an ultimatum to rail network authority ProRail.
23 May 2005
AMSTERDAM — The chance of a train strike grew stronger on Monday as union FNV Bondgenoten delivered an ultimatum to rail network authority ProRail.
If ProRail rejects the union's proposal for a new CAO labour agreement, staff will go out on a 24-hour strike on Friday 17 June.
The union has been arguing with ProRail about a workplace accord from some time and said the authority's final wage offer was a mockery.
The ultimatum deadline will expire on 10 June at midday.
Should the 3,000-strong ProRail workforce walk off the job, nation-wide train traffic will be disrupted.
The rail authority manages track maintenance and regulates train traffic. Trains cannot depart without ProRail approval.
"We realise that the traveller will be the victim [of a strike], but there is no other way to take action against ProRail," an FNV official said.
"A short work stoppage will cause great chaos on the rail network because all timetables will be in a mess."
Unions are demanding that the difference in wages paid to staff of Dutch rail NS and ProRail be amended.
To close the gap, union CNV Bedrijvenbond is demanding a 4.75 percent wage rise.
FNV Bondgenoten claims it is "unprofessional" for ProRail staff to be paid less than NS workers because employees of both companies work in closely with each other.
It also said NS staff will get a 3 percent wage rise this year and in 2006, while ProRail has only offered 2.75 percent.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news