The spontaneous strike by KLM employees in Schiphol ended. Here’s what FNV’s Joost van Doesburg says. Employees involved in handling freight and baggage, among other things, expressed dissatisfaction with their workload and pay at 6 a.m. Saturday. As a result, dozens of flights were canceled at the largest airport in the Netherlands.
It was a spontaneous strike not organized by the union. According to the FNV, which was ready to mediate, work has resumed, in part for the sake of safety.
Angry KLM employees also spoke to the company’s chief operating officer, Rene de Groot. It is not known if any commitments were made there. The handling branch of KLM is the largest handler in Schiphol and accounts for nearly half of all flights.
The strike made it very crowded at the airport, and Schiphol called on all travelers not to come anymore. They are now allowed to return to the airport. However, they must take into account crowds, potential delays, and canceled flights. The airport also advises travelers to arrive on time. For example, passengers on European flights are advised to arrive two hours before departure. For long trips, the advice is three hours before departure.
Large crowds are far from eliminated. There are currently thousands of people in Schiphol. There is a long line in front of one of the departure halls that extends outside the terminal building. Meanwhile, exits from the A4 motorway in Schiphol reopened in both directions.
The Royal Dutch Gendarmerie Mariehaus reported that the situation in Schiphol was “stable”. A ministry spokesman said there had been no “accidents” so far. The organization closely monitors the crowds. “For example, in the event of a fire, we should be able to get everyone to safety.” The situation is not considered unsafe at this time.
Large crowds are expected in Schiphol on Saturday due to the May holiday that has begun in the northern neighbours. The airport is scheduled to receive about 160,000 passengers on Saturday.
Due to the strike, cargo and baggage were not handled and KLM planes (and partners such as Delta and Air France) were not offloaded either. Staff still made sure people could get off the plane, but bags and suitcases remained in the hold.
Meanwhile, two departing and two incoming flights to and from Amsterdam at Brussels Airport were canceled on Saturday morning, the airport operator’s website reported. The departing flight and the one arriving in the evening have also been cancelled. Earlier, according to the site, there were delays for two flights. There is currently another flight scheduled for the evening.