Industrial relations and employment conditions

NS consults with the employee participation bodies and unions on an ongoing basis. In 2023, key themes included the main rail network franchise, employee vitality, pressure on public safety, capacity measures and collective bargaining conditions. Below we will discuss three of these topics in further detail:


NS met regularly with the Central Works Council and went through the advisory process on the new main rail network franchise from 2025 and the organisation of the railway market.


Temporary capacity measures were introduced after consultations between the employee participation bodies, the unions and NS. The aim of the measures was to tackle capacity shortages among guards, reduce workloads and prevent further timetable adjustments. For instance, we deployed security and train assistants on a temporary basis. The deployment of office staff as train assistants generated positive responses from all concerned.

A new collective labour agreement

NS implemented the 2022/2023 collective labour agreement last year. The agreement has been fully updated: NS employees have an up-to-date overview of their employment conditions. Negotiations on the collective labour agreement for 2024 started in the third quarter of 2023.

Message from the Central Works Council

For NS’s Central Works Council, 2023 was a turbulent year. There were highs, lows and major challenges that have not yet been fully tackled and will require a lot of attention in 2024 and beyond. Last year’s main achievement was the award of the main rail network franchise to NS. We would like to continue the intensive cooperation with the employee representation bodies on this topic in 2024. Other key topics: employee vitality, recovery and reintegration, attracting sufficient staff, shortages on the labour market, the shift to people-oriented management, and undiminished focus on operational performance. These remain key challenges and topics for discussion between the Central Works Council and management. While passengers are returning to our trains in growing numbers, we are still far from the desired level. The financial pressure on NS remains considerable. As rate differentiation was abandoned, new challenges have emerged for management and the Central Works Council. The key challenge is to find solutions without major consequences for our colleagues. We look forward to continuing our collaboration in the coming years with confidence.

On behalf of the Central Works Council,
Bas Kuperus, Chair

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