ARTIS was not allowed to simply deteriorate the employment conditions of 23 employees, even if the zoo is suffering from the corona crisis. This was determined by the court in Amsterdam after the FNV union had initiated the case.
The 23 employees were employed by ARTIS through the municipality of Amsterdam. This allowed them to claim old rights from the collective labor agreement for civil servants. Those rights were slightly better than those of the rest of ARTIS staff, which has not been participating in a collective labor agreement since 2013.
Last January ARTIS decided unilaterally to take away the old rights of those employees. ARTIS thought this was necessary because it is financially in bad shape due to the corona crisis, but according to the FNV “the zoo abused the corona pandemic to worsen the working conditions of employees”.
The judge agrees with FNV. “For example, the judge found it special that you as a company say that you have an acute need for money, which you then solve with a measure that only yields money after a number of years,” says Marjolein Dubbelaar of FNV. ARTIS must continue to pay the employees their old wages and must also transfer the arrears to their account.