Dutch national airline KLM announced on Thursday that it would unilaterally postpone a 2.5 percent wage increase across the board as the airline struggled with massive losses due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
KLM’s announcement comes after the airline said it was losing 10 million euros a day.
“KLM has been in a crisis of unprecedented proportions since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus,” it said. “Our half-year results for 2020 were the worst ever.”
“To survive, KLM must take measures to cut costs,” it said, despite a government bailout of 3.4 billion euros approved last month.
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KLM and major aviation unions agreed on a long-negotiated 2.5 percent wage increase last year that should have been implemented this month.
“The situation back then was completely different than it is today,” the airline said, adding that the unions were unable to reach consensus on the postponement.
“Therefore KLM had no other choice than to act unilaterally,” it said without specifying a postponement date.
The top umbrella union, FNV, responded angrily to the news, saying it could urgently take legal action to force KLM to implement the agreement.
“We’re unpleasantly surprised. KLM is unilaterally scrapping an agreement and you can’t,” said Jan van den Brink, manager of FNV’s aviation division, in a statement.
“And, as always, the lower income groups are hit hardest,” he said.