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Dutch rail stoppage ends with bumper 8%-plus pay deal

·1-min read

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) -Dutch rail unions on Sunday reached a deal with employers to increase workers' pay by more than 8% over 18 months, ending a wage dispute.

Strikes have periodically paralysed the rail service in recent weeks and a further stoppage had been planned for this week.

Sunday's deal comes amid surging inflation in the Netherlands and the wider European Union, and is significantly higher than average wage settlements in the country so far this year.

State owned NS Railways said pay would rise retroactively from July by 5%, or a minimum of 185 euros ($186) a month, with an additional 3.45% in January. It called the deal good news for passengers and rail workers.

Trade union FNV Spoor said the average combined increase would be 9.25%.

Unions said they also secured agreement on a minimum wage of 14 euros per hour and two additional payments of 1,000 euros ($1,000) per worker. The company had 38,600 staff as of 2020.

The average pay increase negotiated so far in 2022 in collective labour agreements for roughly 2.5 million Dutch workers is 3.2%, according to data from employers association AWVN.

Policymakers in Europe have expressed concerns that if inflation stays high for too long, businesses will start to adjust their pay settlements, setting off a hard-to-break wage-price spiral.

Dutch inflation hit 12% in August, Statistics Netherlands said on Tuesday, driven largely by a 151% year-on-year leap in gas and electricity prices.

($1 = 0.9961 euros)

(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; editing by John Stonestreet)