KLM pilots willing to discuss wage freeze for state aid: union

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In this news, we discuss the KLM pilots willing to discuss wage freeze for state aid: union.

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Pilots at KLM, the Dutch branch of Air France-KLM AIRF.PA, said on Monday they were ready to discuss extending a wage freeze, a demand from the Dutch government in exchange of state aid.

Pilots’ refusal to accept government terms over the weekend put at risk the planned 3.4 billion euros ($ 4 billion) bailout needed to help KLM cope with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic .

“We want to talk to KLM and the Ministry of Finance to find a solution as quickly as possible,” the president of the pilot union VNV Willem Schmid told Dutch radio BNR on Monday.

KLM did not comment on Schmid’s remarks, while the finance ministry said it would only speak to the airline’s board of directors and not individual unions.

The pilot union had previously agreed to cut wages for the period up to March 2022, but the government on Friday demanded an immediate guarantee that wages would be frozen for at least three years after that period.

“This request came out of nowhere,” Schmid said. “We want to know what we are being asked to sign for.”

The KLM works council on Monday called on all parties to reach an agreement.

“You simply cannot let this issue endanger the future of the company,” works council chief Dario Fucci told Reuters.

“This is not an acceptable result, neither for the unions, nor for the company, nor for the government.”

Most unions representing ground and cabin crew have agreed to the extended wage freeze, which is expected to last as long as the airline receives government support.

The FNV union for ground and cabin crew, however, refused to accept the stricter conditions this weekend while waiting for the displacement of the pilots.

Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

Original © Thomson Reuters

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