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Barend Barentsen on strikes in regional public transport

For one week, regional public transport drivers will go on strike. At least, that is what Dutch trade unions FNV and CNV are calling for. According to the employers’ association WVOV, half the busses will still be running.

For the trade unions, work pressure is a major issue. It seems that a minute is regularly taken off the bus timetable so that in practice drivers can’t meet the allocated driving time. The drivers have gone to the employers to complain about this work pressure, but the unions say that this has been to no avail. Now that the unions are planning to strike, the employers have withdrawn their final offer. As a result, the dispute is in a deadlock and passengers are suffering as a result.

According to Barend Barentsen, Professor of Labour Law, ‘you could also decide in advance to get a mediator or an arbitrator involved. But sometimes the conflict of interest is so great that it has to be fought out.’ That’s what it looks like at the moment which is frustrating for passengers who depend on public transport. But passengers can do something says Barentsen. ‘Passengers whose interests are harmed can go to court. This can also be done through travellers' organisation Rover or the Consumers' Association, for example. Employers can also go to court to have the strike banned if the damage is disproportionate. It is up to the courts, though, to determine what is disproportionate.’

Read the full article in Dutch newspaper AD

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