Dutch Airline Pilots Association (VNV) successfully blocks mandated vaccinations for new pilots

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Court case against vaccination mandate won

From VNV:

On May 19, court proceedings brought by the Dutch Airline Pilots Association (VNV) against the vaccination mandate introduced by KLM for new pilots were filed. The judge made a ruling today.

The judge ruled in favour of the Dutch Airline Pilots Association (VNV). This means that KLM may no longer ask new pilots about their vaccination status against COVID-19 and/or reject them for this reason, risking a fine of EUR 100,000 per violation. The court emphatically takes into account that the effectiveness of the measure can be disputed and that the invasion of privacy in this case outweighs the interest that KLM claims to pursue with this measure, since other solutions are also possible. In addition, in the judge’s opinion, KLM is putting too much pressure on new pilots to be vaccinated.

This statement is important to the pilots because it once again makes it clear to KLM that acting unilaterally – in this area or in other areas – is not acceptable. We also see confirmation that agreements also apply to pilots who are not yet employed. We regret that this (once again) required a lawsuit.

Court ruling:  (translated)

ECLI_NL_RBAMS_2022_3029, Amsterdam District Court, 9827224 KK EXPL 22-246


Union VNV’s statement: Lawsuit against compulsory vaccination won

Lawsuit against compulsory vaccination won _ Association of Dutch Airline Pilots


The VNV is pleased with the decision of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal which immediately prohibits KLM from asking candidate pilots about their vaccination status and using this to reject candidates. The VNV endorses the government’s position that vaccination is important, but that compulsory vaccination by the employer is not permitted. We were of the opinion that KLM did not comply with this and, moreover, violated our agreements about this, without there being any operational necessity.

Today, the court ruled that the infringement of the fundamental rights of candidates committed by KLM’s conduct in the application procedure is disproportionate, because KLM has not been able to demonstrate that there is an operational necessity. The judge says about this: “The importance of KLM to finalize its planning with due observance of the collective labor agreement and to organize its business operations as well as possible is also present, but does not weigh as heavily as the rights of the candidate pilots. This is all the more true now that VNV has argued that there are alternatives that the candidate pilots and many of the pilots already working at KLM want to participate in, such as conducting (per) tests, which can also achieve the goal of effective planning. become.”

Under penalty of a penalty of EUR 100,000 per violation, the court has immediately prohibited KLM from collecting and/or using information in any way about the vaccination status against COVID-19 and/or rejecting candidates because they indicate that they are not have been vaccinated and/or do not wish to have a vaccination. If KLM can demonstrate that operational problems will arise in the future due to travel restrictions for its personnel, the VNV is always prepared to look for solutions that do not disproportionately infringe on its (candidate) pilots.

Peter Westerneng, VNV President:

In several countries, judges have already put a stop to a (Corona) vaccination obligation. Not so long ago, several hospitals in the Netherlands spoke out against such a duty and indicated that they would not apply it. KLM thought otherwise and introduced a vaccination obligation for new pilots, after which the Dutch Air Traffic Pilots Association (Association of Dutch Airline Pilots) went to court.

After summary proceedings on May 19, the judge today rendered a decision and canceled the vaccination obligation for new pilots that KLM had introduced, contrary to agreements with the VNV. KLM is prohibited from inquiring about the vaccination status of new pilots and taking this into account in the application process, on pain of hefty fines.

Incidentally, the VNV is far from opposing vaccination, but it is an obligation!


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