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Dozens of flights cancelled, lines up to outside due to KLM wildcat strike News

It is a very busy day at the airport on Saturday due to the start of the May holiday. Dozens of flights from KLM and KLM partners have been cancelled. The lines extend outside the airport.

There is a good chance that flights will depart without baggage due to the wildcat strike. The national airport expects half a million travelers in the coming days and foresees waiting times of up to one hour and a quarter. A Schiphol spokesperson reported on Saturday morning that travelers should take flight delays and cancellations into account.

“‘No hands to load and unload'”

“At the moment there is very limited flight handling. Customers are informed and we are looking at the further impact,” said a spokesperson for the airline, which is the largest user of Schiphol.

Aircraft cannot depart from Schiphol or from elsewhere to the Netherlands, because there are no hands to unload and load the aircraft. As a result, the entire network is in a mess, with flight delays and cancellations. “We are going to talk to employees of the ground operation,” said the spokeswoman.


It is unclear who will talk to the furious baggage workers. They want operational director René de Groot to come to the airport to speak with them. He stated in a letter to staff on Thursday that “there is no other way”.

“We realize that the decision may raise emotions and questions. After all, we enlist the help of a competitor.” According to De Groot, it would be ‘a last resort’, because other steps have led to no results, the letter states. KLM’s ground operation has been troubling for years, which incidentally pays its staff better than other players at the airport.

The baggage workers are furious because KLM would like to outsource some of the ground work to Viggo, another handling company. This could be related to the current staff shortages.


KLM subsidiary Transavia has already switched to the services of Viggo during the corona crisis, because it also operates more cheaply. KLM employees are afraid that they will want to shift work under the guise of the crisis, according to a spokesperson.

According to FNV, they are not involved in the protest, but campaign leader Joost van Doesburg says that they are prepared to mediate. In total there are 150 strikers, according to FNV. At 6 o’clock they stopped work. “This wildcat strike is the result of the poor working conditions for the ground staff,” says Van Doesburg. “If KLM wants to solve its staff shortage, it must improve working conditions, instead of outsourcing plans.”

Striking platform workers at Schiphol on Saturday morning.

Striking platform workers at Schiphol on Saturday morning.

Internal reports show that KLM must make the move to Viggo because otherwise it will lose slots, a take-off and landing moment. These are crucial in maintaining the flights, which are essential for the survival of the company.

Course card

The operation at Schiphol will be under pressure on Saturday anyway, because only one runway and one runway are in use due to maintenance of the Buitenveldert runway and the wind direction. Normally there are three or four in the ‘rush hour’.

During the briefing of all handling companies on Friday, it appeared that there are already many gaps in the schedule, because there are not enough temporary workers available. KLM already canceled flights for Saturday because the airport cannot accommodate them, but stated on Friday that their schedules were still reasonably in order for Saturday.

In a letter to KLM management, the angry platform employees wrote on Thursday that the current labor market “simply requires a different approach. Hiring staff who are offered a permanent contract after a successful trial period is a simple example that offers perspective.”

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