AMSTERDAM, May 28 -- The working week in the Netherlands has begun with travel chaos. Public transport staff are staging a 24-hour strike which has brought almost all rail, tram, bus and ferry services to a standstill.
As a result, Amsterdam Schiphol airport has instructed airlines to cancel dozens of flights – including many to and from the UK. The airport, which is normally well served by public transport from across the Netherlands and beyond, is fearing traffic gridlock as passengers switch to taxis or Uber. It is telling the public: “Do not travel to Schiphol unless absolutely necessary. “We expect high congestion on the roads to and from the airport.” Flybe has cancelled multiple services from Southampton, Birmingham, Manchester, Exeter and East Midlands to the Dutch airport. Four EasyJet flights linking Gatwick with Amsterdam have been grounded, with passengers told: “Amsterdam airport authorities have asked all airlines to reduce the number of flights arriving and departing at Amsterdam Schipol airport. ”This is in order to minimise the amount of passengers travelling to and from the airport. We understand that this is a frustrating situation.”
The airline added: “In accordance with EU261 regulations, customers will not be entitled to claim for compensation as a result of the industrial action.” All Eurostar services from London St Pancras to Rotterdam and Amsterdam have been cancelled for the day. Passengers have been offered the option of travelling to Brussels, switch to an alternative day or get a full refund. Public transport workers are stopping work as part of a dispute over pension arrangements, and are demanding that retirement age remains at 66.
NS, the national train operator, said: “We regrettably advise passengers not to travel by train. “As a result of industrial action across the entire public transport sector, there are very limited or no train services throughout the country today. “Where possible we will run trains. However this will be limited and unpredictable.” The operator hopes to run a limited rail service, four times an hour, between Schiphol airport and Amsterdam Centraal station from 5am to 9pm. Reports suggest that Uber’s surge pricing is increasing fares by 2.5 times. Staff employed by some local bus operators in Utrecht and some other small cities and towns are not striking. The Dutch motoring organisation, the ANWB, has called for commuters to work from home on Tuesday or, if that is not possible, to carshare. NS is warning that rail services will be hit knock-on effects on Wednesday as a result of the industrial action.