KLM cabin crew announce 24 hour strike at Schiphol next month

KLM Boeing 737-700, PH-BGP at Schiphol Airport
KLM Boeing 737-700, PH-BGP at Schiphol AirportSaschaporsche / Wikimedia Commons

Part of KLM's cabin crew will be striking for 24 hours on Monday, January 8th. As a result few or even no KLM flights will depart from Schiphol on that day, according to union FNV. The union announced the strike more than a month in advance to give KLM chance to take security measures and to inform passengers and other airlines, ANP reports.

The cabin crew members are striking against the so-called -1CA measure, which was implemented over a year ago. KLM decided to send one fewer cabin crew member on a number of long distance flights. 

This will be the longest cabin crew strike in the 98-year history of KLM, the news wire reports. According to FNV, the strike can be prevented if KLM reverses the -1CA measure. 

According to the union, KLM cabin crew members have been "sent around the world in an unworkable situation for over a year". Reducing the number of crew members causes a considerable workload increase, something the passengers fall victim to, FNV said. 

FNV also pointed to the intense competition between the various airlines at Schiphol. "Because of the pressure on airline ticket prices and the unfair competition in international aviation, one cutback after another is being implemented", the union said, referring to airlines like Etihad Airways, Emirates and Qatar Airways receiving state aid. "KLM's -1CA measure is yet another example of work pressure being increased at Schiphol, blunt cuts being made and working conditions worsening."

FNV previously also held a number of labor actions and short work interruptions in protest against the -1CA measure. A KLM spokesperson told NU.nl that the airline took note of the planned strike and is considering its implications. 

KLM and the unions have also been talking about a new collective bargaining agreement over the past months. The intention was that alternative cutbacks would be agreed to in these talks, and then the -1CA measure would be reversed. But this has not yet succeeded. Union members rejected KLM's final offer.

FNV represents about a quarter of KLM's 9,500 flight attendants. Whether members of larger union VNC will also participate in this strike, is not yet clear.