Air France-KLM CEO, Ben Smith, has decided that now is the perfect time to take a €798,000 bonus, NOS reports. Yes, we’re talking about the same airline that was awarded a bail out by two European governments very recently.
The airline industry has been suffering over the past months of the corona crisis: no one can travel for pleasure, so planes have spent a lot of time on the ground. That means no money for the airline industry.
Air France-KLM has been hard hit by the pandemic, just like other airlines, and has needed the governments of France and the Netherlands to bail it out. France will provide €7 billion to prop up the airline, and the Netherlands will give between €2 and €4 billion.
Why is Smith getting this bonus?
The way Smith is justifying this bonus is as follows: it’s for his work in 2019, when the airline performed well. Also, being a true paragon of virtue, he did not take a short-term bonus earlier this year when the crisis started. He has also taken a 25% pay cut like all KLM staff for as long as the airline can’t fly. What a sacrifice, to take a temporary 25% pay cut to get a €798,000 bonus.
Because the Netherlands is a shareholder in Air France-KLM, it also had a vote on whether Smith could get this bonus. Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra says the Netherlands voted against the bonus. “As we have always said: we are in a crisis and a lot of tax money is needed to get companies and employees through this crisis. Therefore, this is not the time for bonuses for directors of companies we have to support.”
Unfortunately, as the Netherlands only has a 14% stake in the company, it was overruled. The majority of the shareholders of Air France-KLM voted in favour of giving Smith the bonus.
And that’s it for your daily reason to become a socialist! You can follow DutchReview on Facebook for more updates on coronavirus in the Netherlands.
Feature Image: Cor Gaasbeek/Pixabay