The Dutch government announced on Saturday its decision to withdraw the State aid promised to the national airline KLM because it considered the restructuring plan presented a month ago, necessary to unblock the funds, to be insufficient.
The executive regretted that employees are refusing to accept cuts for five years.
The plan presented is “very disappointing” and the attitude of the company’s employees “is risky for the continuity of the company,” which forces the Executive to “not continue with the loan for now,” at least until the workers accept wage cuts for a period of five years, instead of the current two years, according to Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra, EFE reported.
The Dutch airline, which has already warned that it will not be able to survive without state aid, is facing major financial problems due to the impact of the pandemic, which has led to the cessation of international air traffic almost entirely, leaving most of its fleet on the ground in recent months.
After several meetings between KLM and the unions this Saturday, the company has been unable to convince them, especially the pilots, to accept the longer-term cuts.
“What we are doing is in the interest of the Netherlands, but there has to be a balance. This is the money of the Dutch taxpayers,” recalled Hoekstra, who demanded that the airline submit a plan for “substantial” cuts until 2025.
The pilots’ union VNV explained in a note that “this specific adjustment to the agreement cannot be made at this time,” referring to the extension of its cut commitment for another three years.
KLM management called again on Saturday for staff to accept this new commitment “in the interest of its members, all KLM employees and the future of the company,” and warned that without state aid it is virtually certain that the company, with its 30,000 employees, will go bankrupt.
The French-Dutch company Air France-KLM announced on Friday a net loss of more than 6 billion euros in the first nine months, when in the same period in 2019 it had earned €135 million, which explains the collapse of its activity due to the coronavirus crisis.
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