KLM pilots have asked for talks with the Dutch Ministry of Finance after the government suspended a rescue loan to the airline because the associated working conditions were not respected.
The pilot union VNV had refrained from signing a commitment clause, which is supposed to guarantee an extension of the employment contracts for the duration of the credit period.
The refusal to sign resulted in the government rejecting the airline’s October 1 restructuring program and freezing KLM’s loan withdrawals.
The VNV points out that as part of the restructuring it has agreed on an “extensive savings package” in which pilots bring in 20% annually.
She claims that the commitment clause is a “final” addition to the agreement and that no “reasonable” period has been given to examine the amendment to the text as it is.
The cockpit union insists that “of course” the pilots undertake “fully” to make appropriate contributions after the agreement is terminated to safeguard the future of the airline and that the union “fulfills this obligation to KLM and the airlines” expressly confirmed “the government.
“We assumed that this gave the government sufficient guidance,” she added.
“If these extensive wage losses and commitments are not sufficient from the minister’s point of view, we would like to discuss this with the ministry as soon as possible.”
However, several concerns were raised which resulted in VNV not signing the commitment clause, claiming that the unions had not been given full access to the loan agreement between KLM and the government.
VNV adds that the intensive restructuring negotiations have resulted in a specific agreement and the requirement to include the commitment clause “potentially significantly changes” the basis of the agreement. The term of the commitment – the term of the loan – is “indefinite”, it is said, pointing out that collective agreements in the Netherlands are limited to five years.
“This sends us back to the drawing board,” says the union, which also argues that the government is trying to “dictate” the outcome of future collective bargaining “in advance”.