KLM pilots approve new contract
The KLM pilots have, with "an overwhelming majority", approved the new collective bargaining agreement. The agreement includes a number of cutbacks, such as no wage increases for three years, harder work and an increase in the retirement age. "With this an important step has been taken that is necessary for the continuity of KLM", Steven Verhagen, president of pilot association VNV, said, according to the Telegraaf. Negotiations with the pilots lasted more than six months. This collective bargaining agreement will save KLM almost 100 million euros every year. It forms part of the airline's plan to cut costs with 700 million euros over the next five years. Now that the pilots have approved the agreement, KLM can also implement the collective bargaining agreements made with the cabin crew and ground staff. "From junior to senior; everyone contributes", Verhagen said. "No one escapes the dance. There is a well balanced austerity package. A historic collective bargaining agreement. The agreement reached is drastic, but necessary. We are investing heavily for the long term and contributing to the streng and growth potential of KLM in the holding company. Thus we are also keeping an economic right to exist." On Tuesday VNV warned the pilots that any further delays in the approval of the collective bargaining agreement may come at the cost of KLM losing its autonomy in the Air France-KLM group.