Preliminary relief proceedings ruling – Tuesday, 8 November

The hearing took place today during the preliminary relief proceedings initiated by KLM against the cabin unions in a bid to force them to comply with their consultation obligations. KLM decided to do so because the unions have for almost a year refused to enter into collective negotiations, while nonetheless conducting industrial action. The collective labour agreement states that negotiations must take place first, and that only if these fail can mediation be sought, followed as a last resort by industrial action.

KLM’s second demand is that with respect to strikes of longer than 40 minutes, the unions must indicate 24-hours in advance who will and will not be participating in any intended work stoppage. This is necessary in order to guarantee passengers manageable flight operations (where cancellations and re-bookings are unavoidable).

At the court’s explicit request, the unions have indicated that they will not extend their actions to longer work stoppages (of more than 40 minutes) as long as the court has not yet ruled. In any event, this means that there will be no work stoppages of longer than 40 minutes until Wednesday.

KLM is looking forward with confidence to the preliminary relief proceedings ruling in the afternoon on 8 November.

Why is a new collective labour agreement so important?
The world is changing and KLM must respond. Benchmarks show that there is still a significant difference in relation to the competition. In order to invest, grow and retain job opportunities and future prospects, it is vital for KLM to reduce costs in line with the agreed targets by raising productivity. KLM previously reached collective labour agreements with ground personnel and cockpit crew specifying these productivity improvements. Cabin crew cannot lag behind their colleagues. KLM’s terms and conditions of employment are outstanding in comparison with other companies in the Netherlands and other airlines.