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French government urges Air France to pursue reforms despite strikes

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Staff Writer | May 7, 2018
The French finance minister raised the pressure on Air France managers and unions to resolve a stand-off over wages, saying the government would not ride to the carrier's rescue as it grapples with worker strikes and a leadership vacuum.
Air France
France   Staff rejected a pay deal
The dispute at Air France-KLM's French arm intensified on Friday when staff rejected a pay deal, prompting the group's chief executive to resign and raising questions over the airline's capacity to cut costs and reform.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire urged the company and workers to resume talks, delivering a blunt assessment of the airline's future as he warned the state's 14 percent Air France-KLM stake was no guarantee it would pick up the pieces.

"If Air France does not make efforts to become more competitive, allowing this flagship to be at the same level at Lufthansa and other airline companies, Air France will disappear," Le Maire told BFM television.

"We're minority shareholders... those that think that whatever happens the state will come to Air France's rescue and soak up Air France's losses are mistaken," Le Maire said.