With a total of eight handlers, who would also refuse to cooperate, the chaos on the Schiphol platform is complete, according to SP and FNV.
The fact that eight handling companies are active at Schiphol causes unsafe situations, according to the SP and FNV. Moreover, these companies compete against each other, with the result that the staff draws the short straw. The employees are generally deployed with flex contracts or as temporary workers and receive a salary that is barely higher than the minimum wage. The SP and FNV want Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure and Water Management to intervene.
Number of security incidents ‘sky high’
“Schiphol doesn’t care about the staff and only wants to be the cheapest airport”, SP Member of Parliament Cem Laçin told media partner NH Nieuws. He thinks it is ‘bizarre’ that another new handling company will be installed at Schiphol, while there are a maximum of two ground handlers at other major European airports. According to Joost van Doesburg of FNV, the number of security incidents on the apron at Schiphol is already ‘sky high’. With one more company, Schiphol is finally starting the race to the bottom, says Van Doesburg.
According to Schiphol, the airport cannot refuse new handling companies due to European rules. It is up to the airlines to conclude contracts with handling agents. Schiphol may only refuse such a company if they do not meet the safety standards. “It is safe at Schiphol, but there is always room for improvement,” said a spokesman.
It is up to Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen to put the brakes on. The Dutch state is 70 percent shareholder of Schiphol and, according to the SP, the minister can ensure that an end to the jumble of handling companies, low wages, high work pressure and uncertain contracts. Van Nieuwenhuizen does not intend to stand in the way of the free market and therefore does not interfere with whom the airlines will work with. However, it must implement the improvement of safety at Schiphol. One of the agreements was that the handling agents would already share platform equipment, but that has not happened until now.
Due to the corona crisis, that appointment has been delayed for six months. Safety at Schiphol will not be evaluated again until July 1, 2021 at the latest. Until then, there is certainly no question of sharing the equipment.
Schiphol has received dozens of recommendations from the Dutch Safety Board (OVV) to make the airport safer. Only then will the OVV see opportunities for Schiphol to grow. The approach taken by the ground handling companies is one of those recommendations. The Ministry of Infrastructure ensures that these are implemented, but therefore points to the delay caused by the corona crisis.
Schiphol says that the airport itself will now take control of finally arranging the sharing of the equipment, but could not say when they will do so.
As of 1 February 2021, the eight handling companies active at Schiphol are: KLM, Aviapartner, Swissport, Menzies, Axxicom, WFS, Dnata and Viggo.
The above article comes from media partner NH Nieuws.