Union takes legal action against Schiphol over baggage handlers’ workload

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

The FNV trade union is going ahead with legal action against Schiphol airport’s management in its latest attempt to ease the workload for baggage handlers.

The union said it had received more than 400 complaints since it set up a hotline in September for staff to report work-related injuries such as back, shoulder and neck pain.

‘For years Schiphol has only been interested in unrestrained growth at any cost. It drove costs down and profits up, literally on the back of our staff,’ union official David van de Geer said.

The union said in September it was considering a mass claim against the airport, both to compensate injured workers and to force Schiphol to change its working practices.

Labour inspectors said in 2004 that the airport was failing to comply with safety standards and ordered it to buy equipment to ease the burden on staff, such as lifting aids.

But it emerged last year that inspectors had not carried out a single check on working conditions since 2010.

Last April the airport was brought to a halt when KLM ground crew walked out in protest at plans by the national airline to outsource some of its work. A shortage of baggage handlers and security staff also forced Schiphol to limit passenger numbers over the summer, forcing airlines to cancel flights or re-route them to other airports.

Dick Benschop, who resigned as CEO of Schiphol in September in the wake of the summer chaos, blamed fierce competition between baggage handling companies for the lack of protection for workers.

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