Ryanair crew in Eindhoven strike over base closure, impact unclear

Ryanair cabin crew based at Eindhoven airport are going on strike on Tuesday in protest at the Irish budget airline's plans to close its southern Dutch base, However, passengers are unlikely to notice much impact because Ryanair usually brings in crews from outside to make sure all the flights go ahead, news agency ANP reported. The airport's website says there may be some cancellations or delays. Ryanair said at the beginning of October it is closing its Eindhoven base, which currently operates four planes, but said ‘most routes to and from Eindhoven will continue on overseas based aircraft’. Some 50 or so pilots and 150 cabin crew are based in Eindhoven and the airline offers 155 flights from the airport per week. The announcement was made as Ryanair issued a profit warning, cutting the forecast from €1.25bn – €1.35bn, to a new range of €1.10bn – €1.20bn. The new figure is due to the summer strikes as well as higher oil prices, the airline said in a statement. Update: Ryanair told DutchNews.nl in a statement on Tuesday afternoon that 'all of our Eindhoven flights are operating as normal, all of our crews reported for duty and we look forward to carrying all of our Eindhoven customers today.'  More >

Secret Escapes takes over TravelBird

British online travel group Secret Escapes is taking over bankrupt Dutch holiday platform TravelBird, but most of the company's 270 to 300 workers will be out of a job, the curator said on Wednesday. TravelBird went bust earlier this month after failing to find new financing and the label will now become part of the Secret Escapes stable. The deal gives Secret Escapes the company's IT platform, the brand, logos and its list of customers. 'I think several dozen workers will keep their jobs but over 200 will be out of work,' the curator told the Financieele Dagblad. 'But we should not worry about those who will be out of work because headhunters are already at the door.' The curator's report also shows that TravelBird and Secret Escapes had been talking about some form of alliance up to the bankruptcy, the FD says.   More >

Less livestock key to cutting manure fraud

The only way to stop farmers committing fraud by dumping more manure on their land than allowed is to reduce the number of cows, pigs and chickens on Dutch farms, according to the public prosecutor in charge of environmental crime. Rob de Rijck told the NRC in an interview that little has improved in the approach towards fraud with manure since the NRC uncovered major problems in Brabant and Limburg in 2017. Plans to set up a nationwide task force have not materialised and both the public prosecution department and product safety authority do not have enough capacity to carry out proper checks, De Rijck said. 'More manure is being produced than the land can cope with,' he said. 'From a criminal law perspective, the only thing that can be done is to reduce the amount of manure. We should have less livestock.' The Netherlands is currently allowed to spread more manure on farmland than in other EU countries but that could change next year when the EU reconsiders the rules. Forgery The NRC found last year that farmers are forging their accounts, illegally trading their manure or dumping more on their land than permitted by law, while transport companies are fiddling lorry weights and making unrecorded trips to dump manure at night. Brabant and Limburg are home to 60% of all pigs, 40% of all chickens and one sixth of all cows in the country which together produce 16.5 billion kilos of manure. Factory farms are subject to strict rules about how much manure they can put on their land. The rest has to be disposed off or traded with other farmers who have not used up their own manure quotas. But disposal costs money and some farmers are unwilling to spend the cash. Instead, they falsify their own manure records, in some cases, by doctoring manure samples to alter the concentration of phosphates and nitrates, the paper said.  More >

Tax minister to simplify 'complex' system

Junior finance minister Menno Snel plans to simplify the current Dutch tax system and will present his proposals to parliament early next year. Changes to the ‘box 2’ system of dealing with income other than earnings from work is on the cards, as is taxing income earned from rental platforms such as Airbnb, the junior minister told MPs in a briefing. The current complex system of benefits will also be included in the evaluation, Snel said. The cabinet has already made made progress, Snel said in his briefing. For example, from next year the number of tax bands will be formalised at two. Government auditors said last year they have no idea if most of the 213 tax breaks available to companies and private individuals in the Netherlands have any effect or what they actually cost the treasury.  More >

Banks warned on money laundering

Finance ministry inspectors are pressing ahead with investigations into money laundering via Dutch banks, and will take action against institutions which are not doing enough to tackle the problem, the service chief Hans van der Vliet has told the Financieele Dagblad. 'Our investigation continues,' Van der Vliet said. 'If banks are not doing their job as gatekeeper properly, then we will end up at them.' He said he expected the entire Dutch banking sector to come up with initiatives in the short term to prevent another ING debacle. Earlier this year the bank agreed a €755m out of court settlement for failing to take money laundering seriously. The central bank told finance minister Wopke Hoekstra at the time that more banks were lax in their approach to the problem. One sign that compliance is improving would be an increase in the number of unusual transactions reported to the authorities, Van der Vliet said. Last year banks reported just over 360,000 unusual transactions to the special register, down almost 60,000 on 2016. A spokesman for the Dutch banking association told the paper that plans to improve compliance are being worked on.  More >