NOS . News•
More than 600 employees of NS International have been sleeping poorly since the government announced that it would “abandon” international high-speed lines to market. These and other concerns are articulated in a letter from the NS’s Central Works Council (COR), addressed to Foreign Minister Vivian Heijnen for Infrastructure and Water Management (I&W).
Heijnen made at the beginning of this month Plans announced To open more railways on the market. The plans are part of a new package of requirements that the railway company must meet in order to gain access to the Dutch main railway network, the so-called “concession”.
NS will have this concession until 2025. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management plans to award the concession to NS in the post-2025 period as well. But there are plans for this new concession to allow for more competition in the local rail market. These plans are a concern for NS employees. COR fears the company’s continued existence, as can be read in the letter.
‘Beginning of the End’
According to COR, which represents NS’s 20,000 employees, opening up the market doesn’t make sense. This “does not lead to a better quality product for travelers,” House Speaker Bas Koprus and Secretary Alptekin Akdogan wrote. “We don’t think it makes sense to modify the system if it doesn’t improve its performance.”
In addition, the NS should prepare the proposed plans in the coming years. NS must then transfer tasks such as maintenance, customer service and travel information to third parties. The House fears that the quality and reliability of the national train journey will decline as a result. This can also increase costs.
“In our opinion, when these principles become a reality, the beginning of the end is looming for NS and we are deeply concerned about that,” wrote the representative of the House of Representatives.
Loss of security and comfort
The Business Council is also critical of plans to open international high-speed lines to Berlin, Frankfurt, London and Paris from 2025. From that moment on, international train passengers have lost the safety and comfort of these connections. NS management was already critical about these plans.
The House fears that the Secretary of State’s intentions “will not help improve the situation on the railways.”
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