KLM Catering staff performing labor actions; flight delays possible

KLM Catering Services delivering meals to a KLM plane
KLM Catering Services delivering meals to a KLM planePhoto: portosabbia/DepositPhotos

The KLM staff who provide on-flight catering are performing labor actions on Thursday. This could have consequences for KLM passengers - flights may be delayed or have no food on board.

The labor actions involve staff of KLM Catering Services (KCS), a subsidiary of the airline. KCS employees are dissatisfied with the progress of a new collective bargaining agreement for the catering sector, which also covers them.

In protest against the final offer from employers' organization Veneca, a few hundred of the over 1,300 employees will protest on Thursday, Harry de Wit of trade union FNV Catering said to RTL Nieuws. Today they will follow every rule and instruction to the letter, with no compromises for efficiency. For example, according to the rules every single item needs to be checked, instead of random checks. Flights from foreign companies will be spared, the union agreed. "It is an action you can easily participate in, because you simply work according to the rules", De Wit said.

The protest may result in flights within Europe leaving with no food on board. As flights outside of Europe are not allowed to leave without food, these flights may be delayed. According to KCS, it arranges more than 55 thousand meals per day for more than 350 flights. 

These actions follow a difficult negotiation process that has been ongoing since February, De Wit said. There is a massive gap between the employers' final offer and FNV's demands. The union wants a 5 percent wage increase for catering employees, the employers will go no further than 3 percent. As the offer only takes effect on September 1st and the previous agreement expired earlier this year, the offered wage increase does not even cover inflation, De Wit said. If the employers do not improve their offer, more actions will follow.



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