KLM cabin crew labor actions to cause flight delays

KLM Boeing 737-700, PH-BGP at Schiphol Airport
KLM Boeing 737-700, PH-BGP at Schiphol Airport. 14 June 2011SaschaporscheWikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA

Travelers flying from Schiphol on a KLM flight today, can expect delays. The airline's cabin crew members are performing labor actions on Friday to protest against KLM's decision to reduce the number of flight attendants on some long flights. Cabin crew members taking part in the actions - members of union VNC - will strike for an hour before each flight. The actions take place between 5:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., RTL Nieuws reports.

KLM calls the actions "incomprehensible and unwise", especially given the weather conditions. The airline is doing all it can to minimize delays and advises travelers to keep an eye on its website for information.

The airline decided to deploy one fewer flight attendant on 40 percent of long flights last year, in reaction to stuck negotiations about employees pensions. KLM and the unions eventually agreed that the measure will be reversed in stages, provided that the unions cooperate on alternatives to increase productivity during collective bargaining agreement talks. KLM recently made a final offer on this front. The airline proposed to put the purser to work on all intercontinental flights, as a kind of foreman that helps with the work. 

Union CNV immediately rejected this proposal. According to the union, this proposal is even worse than the previous one, as it decreases capacity on all flights. "Our member council unanimously rejected that offer. KLM does not want to negotiate, but simply put the offer down", Chris van Elswijk of VNC said to RTL. He expects that the labor actions will cause delays, calling it annoying, but "the only signal we can put down in front of KLM". "It is up to KLM how far they want to let this go and whether they want to withdraw the final offer."