KLM flight attendants call for action over long-haul cabin crew cutbacks

KLM boeing 787
A Boeing 787 Dreamliner in the KLM livery (Rendering: KLM). A Boeing 787 Dreamliner in the KLM livery (Rendering: KLM)

KLM flight attendants are starting labor actions from Monday in protest to the airline's decision to remove a cabin member on some long flights. Cabin crew union VNC informed KLM negotiator about the actions by letter.

"For now we only want to take measures that affect KLM, but spare passengers as much as possible", VNC president Annette Groenewald said to Het Parool.

According to Groenewald, KLM asks the cabin crew to work longer hours due to delayed flights several times a week. The VNC then makes an agreement with KLM over extra compensation for the crew. "From Monday we will make such requests a lot more expensive for KLM by demanding more compensation." If the airline does not agree, the cabin crew won't keep working.

Union FNV is also planning public friendly actions if KLM does not meet their requirements on this measure. According to the union, 73 percent of its cabin crew members are willing to participate in a possible strike.

Last month KLM announced that it plans to drop a cabin member from 40 percent of intercontinental flights. This will cost 250 jobs. According to the unions, this measure will mean 20 percent more work on board. This does not only compromise service, but also safety, according to the unions.

According to KLM, the measure is possible within the safety rules. It is also allowed by the collective bargaining agreement, which states that one fewer cabin member can be deployed on flights that aren't at maximum capacity, according to the newspaper.