Unions demand real jobs at Schiphol

Security agents, handling agents and ground and cabin crew in the Netherlands were in action on 5 April alongside their union the FNV to demand ‘real jobs’ from Schiphol Airport.

To the aviation workers, real jobs are more secure, long-term contract jobs, so they know how many hours they will work and how much they will get paid. Job insecurity is increasingly experienced by all kinds of aviation workers and unions want that to end.

The FNV also wants Schiphol to give future permits only to companies and airlines which employ at least 80 percent of their workers on permanent contracts, adhere to collective agreement norms and are financially sound. Schiphol denies it has influence over or responsibility for the practices of those companies. The FNV has asked Schiphol for a positive response by 5 May.

FNV Schiphol project leader Leen van der List said: “We demand that Schiphol creates a set of minimum standards for both new and existing companies active in the airport. These standards must include job security and reduced work pressure, and stimulate education.

“And we want Schiphol to stop giving permits to carriers and service providers which are barely profitable, as workers pay a high price in terms of jobs and working conditions when companies cut costs while demanding greater productivity.

"We are asking for nothing that is not in line with what is customary in the Netherlands. To create a level playing field, Schiphol Airport should demand that companies comply with ILO conventions and the Dutch labour law, social security law and tax law. The key question is whether Schiphol wants to impose licensing conditions on businesses."   

Erin van der Maas heads up the ITF airports organising priority project, which fights for real, safe jobs with genuine employers. He commented that civil aviation workers in the Netherlands and around the world were fighting the current effects of deregulation on airport jobs. He said these would worsen under TiSA (the Trade in Services Agreement), as it would lead to more unstable jobs, deteriorating working conditions, falling wages, increased risks to health, flourishing anti-union practices and a reduction in service quality. He concluded that airlines must be held responsible and accountable for working conditions and standards in their supply chains, and that airport operators have to be responsible and accountable for the working practices within airports.

The ITF airports organising project was set up to support its unions to fight back. This is embodied in Airports United, which brings together baggage handling, maintenance, check-in, cleaning, security and other workers within airport locations to improve the industry and secure recognition and wages justice.

Show your support for the Schiphol workers on social media using #echtebanen. 

In June 2016, security and other ground workers at Schiphol celebrated two important wins in their fight for better conditions and improved security. Read more. 

Show your support for Airports United on Twitter and Facebook using #airportworkers.

Read more about union objections to the TiSA. 

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