The €8.2bn pension fund for KLM pilots has announced that it plans to take the Dutch airline to court over KLM’s decision to end its agreement to plug funding gaps at the scheme in order to provide indexation.
In a statement posted on its website, it added that it would call on the court to overturn the company’s controversial decision.
In the scheme’s opinion, the employer has acted unilaterally, “taking away a proper balance between the interests of all players involved”.
The Pensioenfonds Vliegend Personeel KLM referred to the agreement between KLM and pilot union VNV two years ago about a change in the way contributions are determined.
“As a consequence of this agreement,” the board said, “the premiums for KLM were reduced, and its obligation to fill in the funding gap justifiable.”
The pension fund said it would pursue its case independently from the summary proceedings recently brought against KLM by the VNV union.
The pension fund made clear it had declined KLM’s request to adjust the contract mutually, as well as to wait for a verdict in the case between the union and the employer.
“Only a new agreement between the social partners can lead to an adjustment of the contract,” it said.
In the summary proceedings before the Amsterdam court, the VNV demanded that KLM revoke the termination of the pension arrangement.
The airline argued that, under the new financial assessment framework (nFTK) in the Netherlands, it would have had to come up with an additional €600m, making its initial commitment unaffordable.
The VNV, however, claimed the airline would need to set aside no more than €115m by the end of this year.
The court is expected to reach a verdict on 27 September.
At an earlier stage, the pension fund described KLM’s decision as “unfounded” and said it would keep implementing the existing pension plan.
The pilot scheme, when asked by IPE, declined to provide details about its planned legal proceedings or its timing.