In any case, KLM will send a plan on 1 October on how the airline will save money to political The Hague. The company prefers to do this with an agreement with the trade unions about reducing the terms of employment, but if that is not there, KLM’s own plan will go to The Hague, says Kim Bruggeman. As Vice President for Sector Relations and Compensation, he has been one of the negotiators with the unions in recent months.
The aim of the consultation with the unions is to meet the requirements that The Hague set for a support package worth 3.4 billion euros. In order to obtain the 2.4 billion euros in loans and 1 billion euros in guarantees for loans, KLM must reduce the costs by at least 15 percent from the government. The number of night flights must also be reduced and requirements have been set for the minimum use of biofuel. Moreover, employees who earn more than three times the average earnings are asked to make a wage sacrifice of at least 20 percent.
Bruggeman emphasizes that the talks with the unions are not normal collective bargaining talks, but that both sides run the risk of falling into ‘classic patterns’. “Normally you fight a bit about how much is added, now it is about giving up employment conditions and the survival of the company is at stake.”
According to Bruggeman, the traditional negotiating tactics of ‘go for what goes for what’ no longer works either. “That does not suit the situation of the company. Things are going really badly, the planes are half full ”, he refers to the corona crisis, which has caused the number of booked flights to plummet.
An important stumbling block is the implementation of the principle that the strongest shoulders must bear the heaviest burdens and the requirement of various unions that staff who earn up to one and a half times average earnings are spared. Bruggeman and KLM are of the opinion that if earners of an average income do not receive their wage increases agreed in the collective labor agreement, they do not have to surrender anything further. However, according to some unions, they should not suffer at all from the cost savings and should therefore simply receive a wage increase.
The works council has already given a positive advice for the plans. Bruggeman also hopes to reach agreement with the unions in a final round of negotiations. “We sent out new proposals last night and we will discuss this afternoon. If necessary, we turn it into night work. ”
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