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According to Henri Janssen, director of FNV Spoor, the agreement reached is significant, but it is up to the members to assess whether the collective labor agreement deal meets their expectations.

After intensive negotiations, the unions and the management of the Dutch Railways (NS) have reached a new collective labor agreement (CBA), under which NS employees will receive a significant wage increase of an average of 6,6%. This agreement, reached on Tuesday morning after a marathon meeting, appears to have prevented threatening actions on the railways, including possible strikes.

The negotiations on the collective labor agreement were not without tension. Just before the Christmas period, negotiations reached a standstill, and the four unions involved considered serious action, including strikes. The impasse was broken when the parties decided to resume talks in early January, which ultimately led to a positive outcome.

“When it comes to money, they may find it mediocre,” says Janssen at De Telegraaf news immediately brought it out. The agreement means that each employee receives an additional €240 gross per month, which mainly benefits lower-paid employees. By comparison, tram and bus drivers in The Hague received a higher wage increase at the end of last year, which can serve as a reference point for some NS employees.

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Photo: © Pitane Blue - Eindhoven station

A striking aspect of the new collective labor agreement is the attention to inclusivity and equality in the workplace. For example, menstrual leave has been agreed for the first time, as well as the provision of free menstrual products. Janssen emphasized the importance of this arrangement for female employees, and compared it to the lack of toilet paper on trains, which causes widespread inconvenience.

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In addition to the pay increase, there are also improvements in secondary employment conditions. The travel allowance for NS staff will be increased, and an adjustment will be made to the policy regarding night shifts. From now on, fewer employees will have to work night shifts after the age of 63, which previously only applied to older drivers, but is now also being extended to other positions, such as mechanics.

This agreement takes an important step in labor relations within the NS. It reflects the growing attention to employee welfare and the willingness of the NS management to invest in its staff. In the near future it will become clear how union members respond to this agreement and whether it actually leads to an improved working atmosphere and productivity on the Dutch railways.

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