A workers union representing members of Dutch carrier, KLM’s cabin crew has called a 24-hour stoppage which could have the potential to affect thousands of flights on 8th January 2018. The strike has been called after talks with management over workers rights including a collective labour agreement and cost-cutting measures failed to make progress.
In a statement, the FNV Cabine union said “talking about talking does not help,” explaining that it had decided to give so much advanced notice in a bid to give management the “opportunity” to “prevent the action.”
FNV Cabine is part of the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions – the largest trade union in the Netherlands but it isn’t the only union representing cabin crew at KLM. The Vereniging Nederlands Cabinpersoneel union has so far said it will not join the strike while talks with the airline continue.
Airline bosses and the unions are currently working with independent mediators to hammer now a deal that is agreeable to both sides. Should those talks fail, VNC has said it will join FNC Cabine in calling on its members to join the 8th January walkout.
Workers are particularly frustrated with tough productivity and cost-cutting measures that are being implemented at the airline. One initiative that has drawn particular ire from cabin crew is the ‘-1CA’ measure which has seen certain long-haul flights going with one less member of cabin crew.
Both unions want the controversial -1CA initiative reversed immediately. A spokesperson for VNC said the airline must “reduce austerity targets” – it claims that airline bosses know the removal of one member of cabin crew on a small percentage of flights will do little to reduce KLM’s overall budget.
But even bigger an annoyance for cabin crew is the airline’s refusal to include them in a company-wide profit sharing scheme. Instead, the union’s have said KLM simply wants to offer a one-off payment which would only be paid in 2018. The VNC union said cabin crew pay would remain stagnant and has called the offer “meagre.”
In response, Aart Slagt, KLM’s human-resources director has been quoted as saying:
“This autumn, KLM and FNV Cabine achieved another negotiation result for a new collective labour agreement. This result was ultimately rejected by the FNV members. KLM has subsequently indicated that it wants to [go to] the table together to find solutions. We have also proposed that a mediator help to break this impasse.”
If the strike goes ahead, cabin crew will walk out from 11:01 am on 8th January and finish at 11:59pm.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.