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Nov. 20 Strike to disrupt public transport

November 9, 2011

By Marlene Werner

AMSTERDAM – Dutch public transport workers (GVB, RET, and HTM) announced a 24-hour strike for Nov. 20, following fruitless discussions with Infrastructure and Environment minister Melanie Schultz, Dutch labor union representative Abvakabo FNV says.

Public transport, including busses, trams and metros, will be disrupted in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.

“The minister has always sworn that public tendering is a means, not an end.  A means to realize cheap and better public transportation,” said Eric Vermeulen, Abvakabo FNV’s general secretary.

The strike is a reaction to Schultz’s plans of budget cutbacks which accompany the tendering of public transportation.

The aspired € 120 million-cut would have severe effects on urban transportation, according to Abvakabo FNV.

About 1500 jobs will be scrapped in Amsterdam, further losing 30 out of 44 bus lines, 6 out of 16 tram lines and 1 out of 4 metro lines

The strike had been planned already for Nov. 6, but cancelled when further discussions with Schultz emerged.

Yet Schultz did not agree with the labor unions’ suggestion of postponing the tendering for a further six months.

This period could have been used for further investigation into alternative measures, sparing the transport system and jobs, according to Abvakabo FNV.

Workers and labor unions are aware of inconveniences caused for the public, but expect understanding.

They report feeling coerced into following drastic measures to preserve the quality and quantity of public transportation.

Public transport will be out of service Nov.20, starting at 4.00am in the night of Saturday to Sunday and ending at 4.00am in the following night.

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