KLM ground crew to strike again today; Dozen flights canceled

A KLM plane at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam (Photo: David.gaya / Wikimedia Commons)A KLM plane at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam (Photo: David.gaya / Wikimedia Commons)

KLM ground crew personnel at Schiphol will strike for the third time in two weeks on Wednesday afternoon. The Dutch airline canceled 12 European return flights as a precaution and expects that the strike will result in delays. Travelers are advised to keep an eye on current travel information through KLM's site. 

Two previous strikes by KLM ground crew workers early this month resulted in dozens of flight cancellations and delays that lasted all day. The previous two strikes only lasted an hour, this one will last four. The strike will happen between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. 

"In order to be able to continue flying as much as possible despite the work interruption, it will not be possible to take hold baggage on European flights arriving or departing from Schiphol on Wednesday between 12:45 and 17:00", KLM said in a statement. Passengers are also warned to travel with as little hand luggage as possible, to prevent luggage from being left behind due to lack of space. Travelers who do not want to travel without their luggage, can rebook their flights free of charge.

KLM and the trade unions have been fighting over a new collective bargaining agreement for ground crew workers for months. FNV wants a wage increase of 4 percent per year, for KLM to hire more of its ground crew staff on permanent contracts, and better rosters. 

Last week the airline gave the unions a new offer with a wage increase of 7 percent over 2 years and 9 months. There is also an alternative on the table with a wage increase of 8.5 percent, but that comes with adjustments to the profit-sharing scheme.

"The employees no longer accept it. They do hard and important work for little money. And KLM refuses to improve that in a decent way", Jan van den Brink of FNV said in a statement. "KLM only wants to hire people with a contract for 75% of a normal working week. Due to the harsh schedules, the employees cannot take another job. As a result, these employees have a very low income, while they are deployed on the hardest services."