VNV was founded in 1929 as the first pilot union in the world, to protect the interests of the 17 pilots of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which had been flying for 10 years by then. As the profession of airline pilot was not without risk in those days, the main objective for the pilots to unite themselves was to secure good care for the families in case of an accident. Indeed almost all of the VNV boardmembers of those early days were killed in accidents.
It is therefore no surprise that aviation safety has become a major driving force for VNV. Over the past 75 years VNV has developed into an organisation with 2 separate, but indivisible characters. We are both a trade union and a professional association, promoting and enhancing safety in aviation.
As aviation grew into a global industry, VNV recognised the need for multinational pilot representation. In 1948 VNV was one of the 13 pilot associations that founded IFALPA. In 1959 the Belgian, French, Italian and Dutch pilots founded Europilote, to represent the pilots on a European level as a predecessor of ECA.
In 1969 VNV negotiated its first Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) at KLM. Since then, this side of our work has grown too: Earlier this year we renewed all 5 CLAs at our recognised companies in Holland. In the relative calm period between contract renewals we are now using our energy to focus on the professional side of our association.
One of our prime concerns at this moment is the development in the field of flight data protection. In our opinion it is of the utmost importance that pilots can freely report any occurrence that happens during flight. Only in this way can we learn from these occurrences. This is to the benefit of the safety of our industry as a whole. To be able to report freely, the pilot needs to be secure in the knowledge that his report will not be misused to prosecute him at a later stage.
VNV is recognised by the authorities and by the industry as a knowledgeable and reliable partner in discussions on all aspects of aviation. We are constantly striving to play our role as the voice of pilots to the best of our abilities. As the regulatory powers are shifting evermore to the European level, we need a strong ECA and therefore VNV continues to contribute actively to ECA's constant development.