Our bad! Schiphol admits to neglecting work conditions amid baggage workers

A lack of attention to working conditions in the baggage basement at Schiphol has had back-breaking circumstances for employees. 

Ranked as the third-busiest airport in Europe, Schiphol transports a grand total of 71.1 million passengers a year, according to statistics in 2018. But what comes along with so many people? Lots and lots of bags! 💼

With over 53 million items of baggage making their way through the airport per year, and, with over 2,000 employees working in their so-called baggage basements, you might think the working conditions are well, workable.

According to the NOS, representatives at the Dutch airport are finally taking an interest in neglected working conditions.

This comes after employees in baggage handling proposed to strike earlier this year — which seems to have finally gotten their attention! 🤦‍♂️

READ MORE | Here we go again: long lines and missed flights at Schiphol airport

Low costs and high competition 

Schiphol Airport has become notorious for its desire to keep costs low and competition high. This has led to difficulties with baggage handling companies, and problems with working conditions as a result. 

There are currently five different baggage handling agencies in operation at Schipol, and each one is competing with the other to get the most cargo. It’s a bit of a free for all down there! 

READ MORE | Schiphol presents action plan to (hopefully) cope with overcrowding

With so many bags, one might think that there would be lifts in operation to transport them. Well, according to the NOS, those lifts are, in fact, the backs of workers. 

Employees working in baggage handling at Schiphol have reported over 500 incidents of work-related injuries over the past fourteen years, a number that is toppling. 

This is no surprise, seeing as though employees are regularly hefting around baggage weighing up to 23 kilos or more due to broken lifts and dodgy conveyor belts. 

No check-ups!

To make matters even worse, there hasn’t been an inspection by the Dutch Labor Inspectorate in the past 12 years

READ MORE | Chaos at the airport: Schiphol pays compensation claims

Schiphol Operations Director, Hanne Buis, said about the situation; “I feel that in my stomach and it’s terrible.” 

As of now, Schiphol is going to take steps toward bettering the current harsh working conditions of workers, who are (literally) carrying all that baggage!

What do you think of the conditions at Schiphol? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image:Pixabay
Heather Slevin
Heather Slevin
Heather is a Dublin native, addicted to catching the Luas, the Irish version of a tram, for one stop, and well used to the constant rain and shine. Seeking to swap one concrete city for another (with a few more canals and a friendlier attitude to cyclists) here she is with the Dutch Review! As a Creative Writing student, she can usually be found sweating over the complicated formatting of her latest poem or deep inside the pages of a book, and loves writing, writing, writing.


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