The strike came at the airport’s busiest time in years. On Saturday, 195,000 passengers traveled via Schiphol. This has already led to long queues due to staff shortages. The number of flights was also limited due to maintenance on two runways.
The strike caused the airport to come to a complete standstill on Saturday morning. Schiphol urged travelers to stay on the road at eleven o’clock, after which the Marechaussee and Rijkswaterstaat closed the exits to the airport. Train traffic was also partially halted. The revolving doors of the terminals were closed with red tape.
A group of 150 farm workers stopped working at 6 a.m. Saturday morning. Due to the wildcat strike, planes from KLM, Air France and Delta Air Lines, among others, were not loaded and unloaded or driven to and from the gate. This immediately led to KLM flight delays and a large number of gate changes.
Dozens of flights were also canceled after it was announced on Friday that KLM had to cancel at least 50 flights due to staff shortages. Because the departure halls and access roads were filled up, other airlines that do not use KLM handling also experienced delays.
On Saturday, KLM canceled a total of 110 flights to and from Schiphol. About thirty flights are also expected to be canceled on Sunday, a KLM spokeswoman reported. This has to do with the consequences of the strike that is still working and there is maintenance of the runway. Some of the travelers who saw their flight canceled on Saturday have been rebooked for Sunday. Travelers who cannot travel on Sunday will be informed of this, according to the KLM spokeswoman.
The airport was only completely reopened just before 2pm, after the strike was called off around 12.15pm. “They have ended the operation for security reasons,” said Joost van Doesburg of the trade union FNV. “It got too busy at the airport. The strikers take security seriously.”
New promotions are not excluded
The angry KLM employees spoke with the company’s operations director René de Groot around eleven o’clock. “But no promises have been made. Until they come, we can not rule out further action. “FNV was not aware of the action and – because it was a wildcat strike – was not involved.
The action will continue throughout the weekend, as delayed and canceled flights will also not be able to pick up passengers from their destination. “Travelers must continue to take into account delays and cancellations,” a spokesman for Schiphol said. “We advise them to keep a close eye on their flight information and contact their airline if necessary.”
Due to the strike, the departure halls were quickly filled up on Saturday morning. There were long queues at several check-in counters, sometimes even outside the airport building. Outgoing travelers should take into account waiting times. Travelers who arrived at Schiphol often also had to wait a long time before their plane was parked at the gate. If they could get out at all, then they would have to wait a long time at the baggage claim on their suitcase.
The wild action followed a message Thursday night from KLM to ground workers that the platform work will be partially transferred to another action agent.
An app from KLM for ground staff shows that some of the services on the apron, such as unloading and loading of aircraft, during the May holidays and the summer will be outsourced to Viggo, who landed at Schiphol last year. The work will continue to be carried out under KLM management.
‘The occupation of the platform has been under pressure for a long time’, writes the responsible KLM director in the message. ‘Because there are too few colleagues, boxes have to be handled almost every day with fewer people, and there are often fewer rest periods in a shift. We have also moved and canceled flights. We do not want to go into the summer like that. ”
“The various measures we have taken to increase occupancy as quickly as possible are not sufficient. There are still not enough people coming and sickness absence is still high. ‘
However, FNV attributes this to its position that KLM underpays its ground staff. “According to the employees, the staff shortage is due to the very poor working conditions, the low salary and only flexible contracts,” says FNV director Van Doesburg. “KLM has so far refused to do anything about it.”
Earlier this year, for the first time, a joint employment contract was entered into for seven other dealers at Schiphol. “But KLM has its own agreement. Many traders now work with fixed contracts and higher hourly wages. KLM lags behind. That’s why no one wants to work there anymore. ”
The union had already planned to demand in the forthcoming collective bargaining negotiations on the land agreement in KLM that the conditions are at least in line with the rest of the industry.
The strikers are afraid that the emergency measure is a bid for far more far-reaching outsourcing. KLM rejects this in its message to the employees. “We are well aware that this decision raises feelings or questions with you. After all, we are getting help from a competitor. Know that we see this as a last resort. This measure is certainly not a first step towards outsourcing.” .
Already last year, the KLM subsidiary Transavia switched from the parent company to the Dutch action agent Viggo. This made it the eighth action agent at the airport. According to FNV, competition between these companies has for years resulted in poor working conditions and low wages.
‘On Saturday morning, a number of KLM employees placed their workload on luggage handling and on the forecourt. They claim that the workload is too high. After talks with the management, work resumed around kl. As a result, we can slowly restart the number of flights and passengers are still flying to their destinations.
As a result of these work stoppages, passengers may experience changes, delays or cancellations. Of course, we find that very annoying, and we do everything we can to get everyone to their destination as quickly as possible.
Management and employees discussed, among other things, the lack of staff, the high workload and conditions such as job retention in the long term. We will continue these discussions in the coming period. ‘
Tour operators are not happy to call Schiphol to not come any more
Tour operators like TUI and Corendon were not happy with Schiphol’s appeal not to come to the airport. According to TUI, Schiphol should have nuanced the call. Corendon was also unpleasantly surprised by the request. Schiphol, meanwhile, has told travelers they can come again.
Due to the strike by KLM employees, the departure halls at Schiphol were quickly filled up. Departure Hall 3 was also busy, departing from TUI and Corendon. But a spokesman for TUI states that the crowds in the hall were manageable. TUI had deployed extra people to get passengers in the right row. “Schiphol should have encouraged KLM travelers not to come to Schiphol,” she says.
Corendon points out that the crowds mainly took place in departure halls 1 and 2. This is where the KLM check-in counters are. “Check-in in departure hall 3 went well and the queues were no longer than normal,” it reads.