Strikes are rare in the Netherlands. The polder model is an important institution to control labor unrest. But currently the model doesn’t work at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. On Monday September 2, 2019 one labor union for KLM ground staff calls a strike for 2 hours (08:00-10:00 am). As a result, 62 flights have been canceled.
The union calls a second strike for Wednesday September 4, again for 2 hours at the same time. This means that again a large number of flights will need to be canceled. If you have a reservation you can contact KLM. The carrier should rebook you on another flight, possibly operated by another airline.
In addition, EU regulation 261/2004 may entitle you to compensation if your flight is delayed. This depends on the duration of the delay and the flight distance. You can claim the compensation at KLM. But be prepared that the carrier may deny any compensation. In that case you can hire a lawyer or 1 of the claim companies.
There are 8 unions for KLM employees. Five for ground staff, 2 for cabin crews, and 1 for pilots. So far, the other unions haven’t called for a strike. However, depending on how KLM will respond to the unions’ demands they may still do so.
The strikes of this week imply an end to the unions’ common stance, at least at this moment. On July 11, 2019 all 8 unions stopped negotiating with KLM because they consider the carrier’s wage offer insufficient.
The unions claim a pay rise of 4% in the first year. On Thursday, September 29, KLM offers a wage rise of 6% in 3 years. So there is still a sizable gap in the unions’ wage claim and KLM’s wage offer. Depending on KLM’s attitude the ground staff’s union may continue calling strikes in the days to come.
Two other ground staff unions will consult their members on Wednesday September 4. They want to find out whether their members are ready for strikes. Thus, the number of striking ground staff might increase. So far, none of the unions - including those who didn’t call a strike yet - is happy with KLM’s pay offer.
Tags: KLM, strikes, cancelations, compensation, EU regulation 261/2004