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Airfare to rise further with new baggage handling labor contract

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The first sector-wide collective labor agreement for passenger- and baggage handling will result in more expensive plane tickets, Michel van Stolpe of employers’ association WPBL said to NU.nl. “The ticket price consists of various components, including handling costs. So it will become more expensive,” he said.

Trade union FNV reached a collective bargaining agreement with the employers’ organization which represents handling companies Axxicom, dnata, Aviapartner, Menzies, Swissport, and Viggo. If the union’s members agree, it will be the first sector-wide collective labor agreement for the handling sector. The deal has a three-year term starting on July 1. It includes an average wage increase of 7.5 percent, bringing the lowest starting salary in the sector to 34 percent above statutory minimum wage over three years. 

The collective labor agreement must end competition between companies coming at the expense of employees’ working conditions, Van Stolpe said. It must also help handling companies retain their staff. “We are currently looking for 150 employees at Swissport for the summer period. Employees with a temporary contract have all received a permanent contract, and new people immediately receive a permanent contract. In this way, we want to bind people to us for longer. We also invested much more in the collective labor agreement on sustainable employability so that employees reach their retirement age in a healthy way.”

Airfare to distant destinations was already at risk of rising due to the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia. The war is pushing oil prices, which could trigger a fuel surcharge in the summer. The Russian airspace being closed to European airlines also means they have to detour around the country and fly longer routes to Asian countries, taking more fuel. 

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