If regional transport only remains a cost item for the government, and the transporters continue to assume efficiency, then there will be no public transport in rural areas in the long run. Lutz Kressin of trade union FNV fears that scenario, which yesterday announced strikes in public transport throughout the country.

    Employees of regional public transport companies will lay down their work everywhere on Friday 16 September in their fight for a better collective labor agreement. In the run-up to that national strike, in which buses and regional trains will not run, the union is organizing four strikes in Drenthe, Friesland, Groningen and Overijssel, which will be organized on Friday 9 September.

    Kressin, foreman of FNV Streekvervoer, wants to implement a package of innovations in the new collective labor agreement, in which the sky-high inflation is compensated and the workload is reduced. “People can’t take it anymore, 25 percent sick leave is way too much.”

    If regional transport is not given priority, and only making money is the main goal, there will soon be no public transport left, Kressin fears. “It is five past twelve. There is almost no public transport in the countryside, only the ‘thick lines’ in the cities are there. If you continue in this way, the traveler is completely the victim and has to take the car. And that’s not cheap anymore.”

    The union leader points the finger at both the transport companies and the government. Although employers are opposed to concluding a new collective labor agreement, the government also plays a negative role. “Employers are the first point of contact for the terms of employment, but the government also has kilos of butter on its head and has to pump more money into public transport.”

    The actions in regional transport are a follow-up to the strikes that took place before the summer. In May, several employees already laid down their work in Emmen and the surrounding area.

    On September 6, the strikers will meet in Emmen. Before the summer, that was also the location where they met.

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