Message for KLM pilots by ferocious ground staff: “See you at...

SCHIPHOL – KLM ground staff yesterday left a message in an unmistakable way for colleagues in the cockpit. Employees have left an angry note on the wheel of a Boeing 737. They are furious with the pilots for not signing the clause of Minister Hoekstra of Finance, who wants all staff to make wage sacrifices for five years in exchange for state aid.

By aviation reporter Doron Sajet

The note says: “On behalf of all other KLM employees and their families. THANK YOU. We’ll see you at the UWV”. It is clamped to the steering wheel on the side of the co-pilot of a KLM-Boeing 737. Within KLM there is great disunity and anger about the unions that have not (yet) signed the clause of Minister Hoekstra. Without the signatures of all unions, KLM can whistle for further state aid and threatens to go bankrupt.


Pilotenbond VNV does not want to sign for a wage sacrifice for a period of five years. FNV, which represents part of the ground and cabin crew, is still considering approval, but has said it will not let KLM go bankrupt. All unions had signed on for wage sacrifices and reduced employment conditions for a maximum of two and a half years.

Billion loan

Hoekstra, however, wants to see a five-year agreement with the clause, as long as the term of the billion-dollar loan to keep KLM alive. Five unions, including those of the technicians, have agreed.

CEO Pieter Elbers of KLM tried yesterday to temper the division among the staff. “We won’t make it by looking at each other or pointing at each other. United we stand, divided we lose,” said Elbers.

Today another attempt is made to get a signature from all unions.

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