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Air France strikes continue despite negotiation offer

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Staff Writer |
Air France
Airline   “[Their offer] is not serious”

Air France staff unions are continuing to strike, despite the management offering what it has called “an outstretched hand” to negotiate salary rises.

After six strike days among airline staff, the Air France management yesterday (Tuesday April 10) invited the unions to negotiate on a three-year agreement for a re-evaluation of pay from 2019-21.

Management is offering the possibility of a 2% rise; double the 1% that had previously been suggested. The higher offer was sent through a company-wide communication.

Yet, the unions - comprised of 10 groups in total, including pilots, air stewards and ground staff - are continuing to demand a 6% pay rise, which they say will bring it in line with retrospective inflation, and have refused to stop the strike.

Offering 6% would be impossible, directors have said, because even though the company’s results have “largely improved” since 2017, they remain “fairly fragile”.

Franck Terner, director general of Air France, said: “We cannot suddenly increase costs by €240 million. [But] I would like to believe that the union organisations will take this outstretched hand. Not lifting the strike arrangements during negotiations would be incomprehensible.”

Philippe Evain, head of pilot union SNPL, spoke to the Agence France-Presse: “We have tried to convince our management that it was in their interest to conduct negotiations calmly, away from the media and from the pressure of strikes. But they have refused.

“[Their offer] is not serious and does not address the gravity of the problem. It is not a negotiation, it is a monologue. Mr Terner is hypothesising about the future, but we are demanding [that our pay] catches up. We are on the sixth day of strikes and they are asking us to go back to the beginning and talk of negotiations. It is a ‘no’.”

Mr Evain confirmed that the 48-hour walkouts will go ahead as planned plus April 17-18, and 23-24.

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