KLM ground crew unions agree to new contract with 4% pay bump, reduced work pressure
KLM ground staff will receive a total wage increase of four percent divided over two steps in an agreement the airline reached with labor unions FNV and CNV. In addition to the pay increase, some workers will get the possibility to temporarily work abroad.
The new collective labor agreement will take effect retroactively from March 1, and will run for one year. On October 1, approximately 12,000 employees will receive an additional 2 percent salary, with a minimum increase of 80 euros. Another equivalent raise will follow on March 1 for these workers, including baggage handlers, technical services and guiding aircraft to and from the runways. The staff at KLM's head office is also covered by the collective labor agreement.
Lately there has been a great deal of discussion about the workload that staff at Schiphol Airport face on a daily basis. The baggage handlers went on a wildcat strike in April as a result of this, and ground crew workers threatened another walkout in July if the situation did not improve. Agreements have also been made to limit this workload, said FNV Director Birte Nelen. The agreement includes provisions to hire more people on a permanent basis, and about a minimum staffing level.
In addition, the starting salary will increase with the eventual elimination of the bottom two steps from the wage structure. From now on, younger workers will no longer be classified in their own scales.
In addition, ground staff no longer have to pay for parking at Schiphol, and they will receive an increase in their kilometer allowance. Furthermore, the office staff can work from abroad for a period twice a year. This consists of a total of eight weeks.
The ground staff already received a 5 percent salary earlier this year. At the time, this involved two deferred pay increments of 2.5 percent that had not yet been implemented due to the coronavirus crisis. Some of the KLM employees, such as baggage handlers, also fall under the Schiphol agreement, which means that they are being paid 5 euros extra per hour during the summer.
FNV and CNV have been in talks with KLM about the collective labor agreement since April and stated that the negotiations were "certainly not easy." Because KLM's situation changed, with more demand for air travel, and the airline was also able to repay the state aid, the feeling arose that something was possible, according to Nelen.
Her CNV counterpart, Michiel Wallaard, thinks that the new collective labor agreement can offer "somewhat more perspective" after a "historically dark period for KLM".
The airline itself thinks that with the new collective labor agreement "the organization can return to peace." The agreements must also offer perspective for current and future employees.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times