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Dutch rail workers walked off the job on Friday (9 September) causing nationwide disruption on the NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) rail network.
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All trains on the state-owned NS network, which includes local commuter and intercity trains as well as high-speed international connections, came to a standstill across the Netherlands after unions representing workers announced the strike as part of an ongoing pay dispute.
In a statement NS said: “Although the actions are regional, the area of action is now larger and our trains and colleagues ride throughout the Netherlands. Looking at all the options and the experiences of the previous strike days, we see no possibility to run a schedule in a responsible, reliable and safe way.”
The strike affected international trains such as the Paris-bound Thalys, London-bound Eurostar and the intercity connection between Brussels and Amsterdam.
Access to and from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport was also affected, however trains continued to run on the Utrecht Central – Amsterdam South – Schiphol Airport route. Schiphol Airport advised travellers arriving in the Dutch capital to transfer to the metro from Amsterdam South.
The FNV Spoor, VVMC and CNV unions are protesting for higher wages in the wake of inflation. The rail operator said talks with the unions are ongoing. However, if unsuccessful, further actions are planned for September 13 and 15. The company had 38,600 employees as of 2020, according to a Reuters report.
This is the second train strike to hit the country in less than a month after a series of walk-outs in late August. It also follows similar action across the UK, however rail strikes planned for September 15 and 17 have been postponed as Britain mourns the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
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