Transavia pilots expected to strike during February holidays

Transavia airplanes at Schiphol
Transavia airplanes at Schiphol. April 21, 2007Pieter van MarionFlickrCC-BY-NC

Dutch Transavia pilots are planning to strike in the second half of this month - during the February holidays. The approximately 500 Transavia pilots have been without a collective labor agreement for more than a year, and negotiations with the airline about better working conditions stalled on Friday, NOS reports.

"At the moment, a strike seems to be the only way to enforce our demands", the Dutch pilots' union VNV wrote on a flyer being handed out at Schiphol this week. 

The strike will likely happen during the morning and will only be announced shortly before it starts. "We assume that all Transavia planes at Schiphol, Eindhoven and Rotterdam will stay grounded during the strike. That will last several hours", a spokesperson for the VNV said to NOS. As a result, many passengers may only reach their holiday destinations later than expected.

The pilots want more stable duty rosters and more control over their free time, according to the trade union. The pilots only get their schedules a week in advance, and it changes almost daily, the spokesperson said to NOS. "A morning shift turns into an afternoon shift and a late return suddenly becomes an overnight stay. That can not be combined with a modern family life. You can't plan anything. It causes stress for partners and children, the pilots themselves feel like a plaything for management."

The Transavia pilots also want a "modest wage increase" and for their employer to contribute to an occupational disability regulation. KLM, Transavia's parent company, already has such a regulation in place for its pilots. 

Transavia wants to prevent the strike and is meeting with the union again later this week, a spokesperson said to the broadcaster. "We consider the planning and balance between work and rest times to be a very important issue", the spokesperson said. "We know we have to work hard on that. We only disagree with the pilots on how."