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Thursday, February 2, 2023

KLM agrees to a salary raise with ground staff unions despite labor shortages

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Due to a labor shortage, the Dutch airline KLM was forced to cancel thousands of flights. KLM and the trade unions representing the ground crew have now come to a salary raise deal.

Although reaching a deal was “no easy effort,” KLM expressed satisfaction that the outcome will “provide stability and improve the outlook for all our ground staff” in a press release.

According to the agreements, KLM will give it’s ground workers a salary raise of 2% starting on October 1, 2022, and another 2% starting on March 1, 2023. For both increases, a minimum of €80 ($80) has been set, the airline stated, “to ensure that the financial position of individuals on lower incomes is enhanced.” The proposal will now be approved by the union’s members.

According to KLM, factors in the decision to give salary rises included growing inflation, falling purchasing power, intense work pressure, and the tighter labor market.

Due to a staffing deficit at Schiphol Airport during the past few weeks, KLM had to further reduce the number of flights in its summer schedule.

Many airlines in the industry are facing a wave of operational difficulties as a result of the extraordinary surge in post-pandemic travel demand, which has been made even worse by a staffing crisis.

“These agreements will restore stability to our organization and offer better perspectives to (future) staff”, the airline said.

Although it had been able to pay back government loans and its finances had improved, the Dutch airline, which is a part of the Air France-KLM Group, issued a warning that the recovery was still precarious. KLM stated that in order to maintain access to finance, it would consequently need to continue its cost-cutting measures and may need to reopen negotiations with the unions.

“If circumstances change in the coming period, causing KLM to slip into crisis once more, we will return to the negotiating table with the trade unions,” the airline cautioned.

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