In 2020, Booking.com received EUR 100 million in support from the Dutch government. Now the three-person management of the popular booking site is to receive a bonus of EUR 28 million. Politicians are demanding a refund.
The NRC daily recalls that one of the largest accommodation booking platforms in the world, the Dutch-based company Booking.com, received financial support from the Dutch budget last year.
EUR 100 million was to be allocated to maintaining jobs threatened by the COVID-19 crisis. It turns out, however, that now the company intends to pay the management board a gigantic bonus. The three-person management board is to receive EUR 28 million in the form of blocks of shares.
The travel industry has been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, the company found itself in a serious crisis last year. The newspaper reports that reservations via Booking.com fell by 60 percent. in 2020 compared to the previous year. The company had to cut costs and borrow 3 million euros. She also received support from the budget of the Netherlands.
In March last year, Glenn Fogel, the company's CEO, told NRC that "we must now save every dollar where we can." Now she will be one of the three people to receive the multi-million dollar bonus.
Minister Wouter Koolmees (Social Affairs) did not hide his irritation. "It's not acceptable," Koolmees said in a government meeting on Friday. He also pointed out that there are no instruments to intervene.
The head of the coalition conservative Christian Democrats (CU), Gert-Jan Segers, called the bonuses "shameless" and a proof of the claim that "greed for money is the root of all evil."
Opposition Labor Party (PvdA) leader Lilianne Ploumen tweeted that the money had to be returned "down to the last cent."
The postulate of the head of the PvdA will be difficult to meet, because, according to Minister Koolmees, the company has complied with the conditions of the aid. She received the money to keep her employment and could not fire anyone for three months.
Andrzej Pawluszek (PAP)