Schiphol: Cabinet demands weekly updates on crowding; CEO to brief MP’s today
Last week, the Cabinet asked Schiphol "to report in detail in writing every week which actions it's taking" to combat the extreme crowds and long queues at the airport, Minister Mark Harbers of Infrastructure said to parliament. According to him, the emphasis should be on attracting staff. Schiphol CEO Dick Benschop will go to parliament on Tuesday to explain the situation at the airport.
The Cabinet talks a lot with Schiphol, said Harbers. "The message we are constantly sending there is: solve it." The airport should focus on higher wages and better working conditions. He, therefore, hopes for a quick agreement with the trade unions.
The weekly report must cover the measure Schiphol is taking to attract people and other interventions that it can take until a decision is made on "ultimate palliative and emergency measures," such as canceling flights.
According to Harbers, Schiphol has a clear task: the airport has to convince "the employees of today and the employees of the future" as well as "the passengers and us as government" that it can and will solve this problem.
On Wednesday, the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, will speak more extensively with Harbers about the chaos that Schiphol has been dealing with almost daily since the start of the May holidays. The images of the long queues at Schiphol evoked "first bewilderment" and "after that outrage" in Harbers, the Minister said. "The whole picture is very worrying."
On Tuesday, Schiphol CEO Dick Benschop will brief the Tweede Kamer about what is going on. The Kamer is critical of the long queues caused by staff shortages in security and baggage handling. The VVD and PvdA asked Benschop to come to parliament. The liberals want to know how things could have gone so wrong. The social democrats want to know why Schiphol doesn't pay its staff more.
According to Schiphol, the crowds will continue at least until the summer holidays. Last week, the company presented an action plan to combat the queues. In addition to hiring new people and increasing wages, Schiphol also wants to improve the flow of passengers.
In addition to Benschop, Joost van Doesburg of trade union FNV will also go to the Tweede Kamer on Tuesday. FNV is threatening labor actions at Schiphol because the workload is too high. The union wants to reach an agreement with the airport before tomorrow, June 1, about improving the working conditions.
Reporting by ANP