Labor unions at KLM must indicate before 12 noon on Saturday whether they agree to a longer duration of wage sacrifices. Much depends on the response from the unions. Without an agreement, the cabinet may not be able to fund the ailing airline.
On Friday, KLM and the trade unions met for crisis talks. Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra had rejected earlier proposals for cuts in society. The green light from The Hague is required for a second tranche from the package of emergency loans and loan guarantees amounting to 3.4 billion euros.
Hoekstra considers the length of the agreements between KLM and unions on austerity measures in relation to employment to be too short. These agreements only have a term of one and a half to two years. The minister calls for the wage restrictions to apply to all KLM employees for as long as the support package runs, namely until 2025.
KLM wants the unions to sign a so-called “commitment clause” in which they promise to agree to a wage cut after 2022. At 12:00 noon, the company informs the Treasury Department that the signatures of all unions have been received.
Whether this will be successful still depends on internal trade union consultation. On the one hand, they are aware that if financial aid is not given, KLM will decline as the airline suffers gigantic losses due to the corona pandemic. But they also feel they are there because they have to decide in less than a day for wage restrictions that take much longer than previously expected.