Dutch Carrier KLM has reached an agreement with ground staff trade unions to increase pay. Since the pandemic, the airline has been forced to cancel hundreds of flights following network-wide staff shortages. In a press release, KLM said the new collective labour agreement will “bring stability and improve the outlook for all our ground personnel.”
Wage increase for KLM ground staff
KLM has agreed to increase pay for ground staff to help counter “soaring inflation, declining purchasing power, high work pressure, and the tightening labour market”. From 1 October this year, all staff will receive a 2% salary increase, followed by a further 2% salary increase effective from 1 March 2023. A minimum of €80 has been set for both increases “to ensure that the financial position of those on the lower incomes is strengthened.”
Negotiations with ground staff were “no easy task”, the airline said, as “circumstances at KLM are complex and recovery is fragile”. The Dutch carrier says it will continue to cut costs in other areas as it tries to avoid running into financial difficulties. However, “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.”
An industry trend
Worker strikes have become commonplace in the post-pandemic landscape, as staff shortages and pay cuts have led to worsening working conditions for airline personnel.
Pilots and ground handlers alike have been asked to work extra hours to meet the sudden rebound in passenger demand, whilst in many cases, their salaries have been reduced as airlines try to cut costs. Meanwhile, inflation and rising oil prices have reduced worker spending power. British Airways, Delta, Lufthansa, Ryanair and easyJet have all seen staff their staff demand better working conditions.
That’s not to say airlines aren’t also struggling. This month, Scandinavian airline SAS filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing pilot strikes as a contributing factor.
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