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Three buses, one message: more attention to heavy work.

On March 14, residents of the streets around VNO-NCW in The Hague will witness a striking demonstration. More than a hundred drivers from city transport companies such as HTM, GVB, and RET are joining forces in a unique promotion. With three buses and one clear message, they attract attention: more attention should be paid to the challenges of heavy work. This action, organized by the FNV trade union, marks a crucial moment in the struggle for better treatment of employees with physically demanding professions.

Piet Rietman, FNV treasurer and responsible for the early retirement file, emphasizes the urgency of the situation. “If politicians and employers don't move, things will go wrong,” he warns. The criticism is clear: it is unacceptable that employees have to continue working hard work until they literally can no longer do it, sick and exhausted. The action of March 14 is only an omen; Without change, these “friendly actions” can quickly turn into more disruptive forms.

The heart of the disagreement lies in the implementation of the RVU scheme, a temporary measure introduced after the 2019 pension agreement. This scheme allows employees to stop working up to three years earlier, but is under discussion. Negotiations between FNV and employers about improving this scheme and making it permanent have stalled, making the future of early retirement uncertain.

The FNV proposes three core improvements: making the scheme permanent, increasing the penalty-free amount to make it more financially feasible for employees, and leaving the definition of 'heavy work' to the collective labor agreement partners who have the best insight into working conditions.

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NGC GVB Amsterdam

This issue is not an isolated issue. On the same day, Scania employees take action in Zwolle, and there are signals that this is the start of a series of actions spread across the country. Eric Vermeulen, director of FNV Publiek Belang, emphasizes the seriousness of the situation: “We will be there on Thursday with more than 100 people. We are sending a clear signal and hope that politicians and employers will listen to this.” The threat is clear: without heed, future actions could bring public transport to a standstill in major cities.

This situation raises questions about the appreciation and treatment of heavy work in the Netherlands. While employees call for recognition and adjustment, it remains to be seen how employers and politicians will respond. The actions on March 14 are not only a call for change, but also a test of our society's ability to care for those who form the foundation of our daily mobility.

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