NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 16:29
The end of the strikes in regional transport does not seem to be in sight for the time being. The staff is on strike for a better collective labor agreement, but today State Secretary Heijnen of Infrastructure called on the parties to sit down again. As long as no agreement is reached, the unions want to strike until mid-April, causing problems for MBO institutions and their students.
The conflict is mainly about wage increases and reduction of the workload. As a result, fewer buses, trains and trams have been running for weeks. Students are largely dependent on regional transport to get to their educational institution. An Arriva spokesman says that in Friesland about two-thirds of bus travelers are schoolchildren and students.
For MBO students, every strike day is now another puzzle as to how to get to school. Online teaching is an option, but MBO largely consists of practical education. “For example, if you are training to become a baker, electrician or care worker, you have to come to school. You can’t do that behind your laptop. The MBO student is hit above average by this strike,” says Remco Meijerink, chairman of the board of the Frisian Firda College.
The Firda College itself uses 18 buses on the strike days, also known as the ‘Firda-liner’. The buses are spread across Flevoland and Friesland to get students to school.
They started with the five-day strike a few weeks ago. ”This was in a week in which there were exams and a new period started,” says Meijerink. The fact that the students were prevented for a week due to the strikes in regional transport was the deciding factor for the school to run buses.
In the first instance, MBO institutions are calling on students to arrange replacement transport themselves. According to a spokesman for the MBO Council, this is part of the learning process to come up with solutions for problems that they may also encounter in their working lives. “For example, how you get to work or how you do your job when there is a strike.”
”But for the group that really can’t arrange anything else, we have arranged the buses as a kind of safety net,” says Meijerink. Every week, about 600 of the institution’s 24,000 students use the buses arranged by the school.
MBO student Christina Holtrop uses the ‘Firda-liner’. This also has advantages for the Fashion Tailor student. “I no longer have to transfer and we are simply dropped off at school. We can also leave earlier so that we can take the bus.” Switching to online lessons is not an option for her education. if you don’t have a sewing machine at home, you can’t really do anything.”
MBO students are also affected by the strike. Firda College uses buses in Flevoland and Friesland to get students to school:
MBO students suffer from regional transport strike: ‘Training professionals cannot be done at home’
Negotiations on a better collective labor agreement in regional transport are deadlocked. If the parties cannot agree, the strike days will continue unabated. Meijerink hopes that an agreement will be reached and that the conflict will not be fought over the backs of the students.
When the school started with the buses it was not clear that it would take that long. According to Meijerink, the ‘Firda-liner’ has already driven on twelve strike days. This costs about 10,000 euros per day. The counter is increasing and we can’t keep that up for much longer.” At the end of this week, the school will determine whether they will also arrange buses for the upcoming strike days.