HAARLEMMERMEER–Ground crew working for Royal Dutch airline KLM at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport will down tools today, Monday, between 8:00 and 10:00am, Dutch labour union federation FNV announced. Staff at the airline are striking for more pay, an increase in the number of workers employed and better working hours.
Talks between unions and management have broken down. FNV was demanding a four-per-cent pay increase each year, while management was offering a three-year package that would increase wages by a total of six per cent over the period.
KLM argues the strike is unnecessary because its offer, made on Thursday, is still on the table. However, the union argues they were given an ultimatum to accept the offer, and time has now run out. The union made it clear on Friday that industrial action would follow as a result.
The airline said it would do its best to make sure passengers suffer as little disruption as possible. “We would ask our passengers on Sunday evening and Monday to keep abreast of information posted on the KLM website and via the KLM app,” a company spokesperson said.
The action is expected to affect not only KLM flights but also flights by partner airlines Delta and Air France. The Dutch airline declined to say how many flights could be affected, but the VRT reported that KLM and its partners have 150 scheduled flights taking off and landing in the two hours affected.
The strike would affect all ground operations with the exception of check-in. The union predicted that 80 per cent of ground staff would follow the strike instruction.
Meanwhile, a strike of security personnel at Schiphol announced for Sunday was cancelled late on Saturday, after FNV agreed to go back to the negotiating table with airport authorities. The union has declined to comment before talks resume on Monday, according to industry website Luchtvaartnieuws.nl.