KLM Workers Council Openly Fighting Martinair Close Down

The KLM - Martinair issue has it seems become a never ending saga.
The KLM Workers Council (Ondernemingsraad - OR) has issued a negative judgment on KLM’s radical restructuring plans for their 100 percent daughter, Martinair.
This is reported from within various circles close to the OR within the airline.

Martinair could lose more than their fleet of MD-11Fs /  company courtesy
Martinair could lose more than their fleet of MD-11Fs / company courtesy

The planning, which was agreed between KLM and Air France top managers lately foresees the phasing out of 70 percent of Martinair’s nine freighters by latest end of 2015.
This would then result in about 150 of the 250 present Martinair pilots being out of work or maybe allocated elsewhere within the AF-KL organization.
The KLM freighter fleet would then after the rundown is completed be comprised of three B747-400ERFs plus maybe a small reserve unit of one of the Martinair MD-11Fs.
The so called “3 + 1 plan.”

The KLM Workers Council is definitely not in accord with this planning and has voiced their misgivings already to the Board of Directors.
Furthermore, they are insisting that the Board proves to them that the “3 + 1” plan is financially more sound than the alternative of having a less severe reduction - down to six freighters.
They go even further by questioning whether the managers behind this decision have take all aspects into consideration or whether they are just pushing the plan through.

Amsterdam’s strategic position
It seems that finally there is now some concrete resistance to the Dutch carrier’s plans.
This, despite the apparent lack of interest in the matter by any of the Dutch political parties.
Schiphol’s cargo community has already voiced their misgivings to KLM’s plans as they fear that this will have a negative effect on Amsterdam’s position as a leading air cargo airport in Europe as well as losing credibility for the future.
So far, it’s the Martinair pilots who have been most vocal.
No wonder, they have the most to lose.
KLM is already carrying on with phasing out the first two of Martinair’s MD-11s by the end of April this year.

Steven Verhagen, president of the pilots union, VNV, says he has not officially heard of the Workers Council verdict, but finds it completely understandable.
He goes on to suggest that KLM should now take “time-out” to re-examine all aspects of the Workers Council recommendation.

At the end of the day, the Council’s verdict does not come as a real surprise.
The OR had already last year come up with their own alternative rescue plan which would have seen six of the total of nine freighters being held in the fleet.
The AF-KL management turned this down as being financially unrealistic.
Despite this, the KLM Workers Council seems to be giving their full support to the “Martinair Crew.”
They are insisting that KLM proves with firm figures why the 3 + 1 plan is really the best for the company instead of the 5 + 1 tabled by them.

Maybe a joint Schiphol community and political action would be of benefit to all and at least bring the much needed clarity onto the table.

But, as we have written before, it seems that the “present” KLM management will not budge.
In their eyes it’s the best all round for KLM - but the end for Martinair.

John Mc Donagh

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