Six baggage handlers at Schiphol will receive a permanent penalty because they are not taking enough measures to ease the physically demanding work for ground staff. They are still lifting too heavy and doing work that endangers their health and safety, the Labor Inspectorate concludes.
In February of this year it was announced that the trade union FNV was preparing a mass claim case against the baggage and cargo companies at Schiphol. The union did this after the joint research editorial of the NOS and Nieuwsuur showed in September that these companies had been allowing their staff to do physically demanding work for years, while they were aware of the health risks.
The handlers have purchased lifting aids and baggage robots to make the work easier for their staff. According to the inspection, there is some improvement, but not nearly enough. The lifting aids are not used everywhere and there is still too little variety in work for staff. Last June, the Inspectorate also sent a warning to the baggage handlers about this.
Back and shoulder complaints
Baggage handling must be fully automated in the coming years. Now almost all the lugging is still done by hand. FNV received hundreds of reports from Schiphol employees with shoulder, back and knee complaints. Until then, the lugging work must be made less heavy by robots, lifting aids and more variety in work.
The penalties amount to a total of 200,000 euros per month. The fines vary, but the highest fine for baggage handlers is 65,000 euros. The inspectorate will regularly check whether conditions are improving. If not, the companies have to pay.
Nieuwsuur and NOS previously conducted research into working conditions at Schiphol:
Lifelong injuries from lugging suitcases
- Hundreds of luggage porters report for claim case Schiphol, inspection also intervenes
- Schiphol research: ‘Half of our elderly have complaints’
- The Inspectorate wants the Schiphol baggage basement to be mechanized within two years