Air France unions threaten more strikes in September

Unions at Air France are threatening to restart strike action in September over pay issue

Worker unions at Air France have threatened to “restart” their strike action over pay rises this September, if no agreement is reached on the issue over the summer.

The threat comes after more than 15 days of strikes were already been taken between February and June this year, and the resignation of former Air France CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac in May over the same issue.

The unions had pledged to stop the strikes pending a replacement of Mr Janaillac over the summer holiday period, but have now threatened to continue.

Strike action is already said to have cost Air France well over €300 million.

Unions have been calling for pay rises of 6%, which they say will account for back payments that should have been paid due to inflation levels over the last few years.

In contrast, management began by offering 1-2% pay rises, with the most recent offer capped at 3%.

A statement on behalf of unions of pilots (SNPL, Spaf, Alter), ground staff (CGT, FO, SUD) and air stewards (SNPNC, Unsa-PNC, CFTC, SNGAF) said: “With or without a CEO, from the month of September - to avoid penalising our summer passengers - the conflict over salaries will restart. Only a [satisfactory] agreement will end it.”

The statement continued: “The hasty departure of Mr Janaillac highlighted the structural weakness of our organisation. The administrative council does not know how to get over this crisis situation.”

It added that no “plan of succession” to Mr Janaillac had been planned by the Air France management, even though the former CEO had been open about his plans to leave should his proposals fall through.

This has caused the ongoing delay in recruiting the new CEO, the statement claimed.

This is despite Anne-Marie Couderc - interim director of the group - saying that the company had “taken steps” to address the issue in mid-June, and had planned to “deal with the salary question with urgency...before mid-July”.

Yet, the union statement rebutted: “These words have once again been flouted.”

In its defence, in a statement from July 13, the management of Air France-KLM said it was in the final stages of recruiting a replacement for Mr Janaillac.

The process “should be finalised in the next few weeks”, it said, “with an effective plan established by September”.

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