ARTIS was not allowed to simply deteriorate the employment conditions of 23 employees, even though the zoo is suffering from the corona crisis.
The court in Amsterdam has determined this in a case brought by the FNV trade union.
The 23 employees were employed by ARTIS through the municipality of Amsterdam.
This allowed them to claim old rights from the collective labor agreement for civil servants.
Those rights were slightly better than those of the rest of ARTIS's staff, which has not been participating in a collective labor agreement since 2013.
Last January, the zoo unilaterally decided to take away the old rights from this group of employees.
ARTIS thought this was necessary, because the zoo is in poor financial condition due to the corona crisis.
But according to the FNV, "the zoo exploited the corona pandemic to worsen the working conditions of employees".
The judge agrees with FNV.
"For example, the judge found it special that you as a company say that you have an acute need for money, which you then solve with a measure that only yields money after a number of years," says Marjolein Dubbelaar of FNV.
ARTIS must continue to pay the employees their original wages and must transfer the arrears.
ARTIS wants to talk to the relevant employees
ARTIS says it accepts the court's decision.
The zoo also wants to talk to the employees concerned "about the way in which justice is done to both the verdict and the continuity of ARTIS on the basis of openness and solidarity with the other more than 150 employees".
ARTIS expects a deficit of 21 million euros up to and including 2023 as a result of the corona crisis.