KLM airline has to re-engage previously dismissed pilots who flew for Martinair Cargo. The Court of Appeal in The Hague has determined this on appeal in a lingering case brought by 116 current and former pilots.
The dismissal of pilots from Martinair was part of the integration of the company into KLM. In addition, pilots had to start at the bottom again at KLM with loss of employment conditions.
The pilots went to court to enforce their job retention and their old terms of employment. They believed that there was a transfer of undertaking whereby they should have been given the same rights as the KLM pilots. The court now agrees with them.
According to the judge, they started working for KLM on 1 January 2014. The Amsterdam Court of Appeal had previously ruled that there was no transfer of undertaking. The Supreme Court quashed that judgment.
During their time at Martinair, the pilots had also built up certain seniority benefits. Thus, the cargo pilots also demanded a place on KLM’s seniority list while retaining the seniority built up at Martinair. The Court of Appeal rejected this because there may be no austerity in terms of employment during the transfer of undertaking.
In concrete terms, this means that the influx of pilots is at the level of the conditions at Martinair, but the seniority that has been built up at KLM applies from 2014. Even so, this can saddle the airline with substantial payments afterwards.
KLM says it is studying the ruling and is considering the next steps.