Matthijs de Bruijne
In a display of international solidarity, workers at over 30 airports across the world united on 1 June to protest against deteriorating labour conditions and job security. The action coincided with the annual general meeting of aviation lobby organisation IATA.
Over a thousand solidarity tweets were sent with the hashtag #airportworkers, even surpassing IATA’s own social media effort. Over one-third of the #airportworkers solidarity tweets specifically mentioned Dutch airport Schiphol.
In Amsterdam, 250 airport cleaners, ground handlers, security staff, and KLM workers marched to the headquarters of airport operator NV Schiphol as part of their campaign for quality, safety and secure jobs.
KLM ground staff have recently achieved that KLM withdrew its plan to replace thousands of experienced workers with agency staff; negotiations continue.
The day after the protest, Dutch union FNV reached an agreement with Schiphol airport to improve labour conditions and hire more permanent staff in airport security. There have been issues regarding labour conditions ever since Schiphol Airport assumed responsibility for security contracting in 2003. After worker protests in 2014, some improvements have been made, but not enough to meet health and safety standards. It took five short work stoppages before the current agreement could be reached.
Schiphol airport workers will continue their campaign. Among other things, they want low cost airlines to respect Dutch labour law.