Air France Bowing to Employee / Union Demands

The drama of Air France’s financial situation and internal management problems is nothing new to our readers.
The carrier stated back in 2014 that it was taking drastic measures to rectify the financial bleeding with staff cuts, fleet reductions and other means. Now the management took a step backward. Focusing on growth instead of lowering expenditures to become globally competitive is the name of AF’s new game.

AF chief Alexandre de Juniac moves away from restructuring measures, focuses on growth  -  source: AF
AF chief Alexandre de Juniac moves away from restructuring measures, focuses on growth - source: AF

In order to get things moving forward, the carrier’s management tried to convince the cockpit and cabin crews to accept drastic cuts in benefits. Two years ago, the airline stated pretentiously that if the flight crew were not cooperative, then they would have to revert to what they termed as “Plan-B.” The unions went onto the barricades towards the end of last year by refusing this plan and talks between them and the management ended up with management representatives being bodily attacked by outraged union members.

The unions claim Plan-B is off the table
Now, however, in contrast to their previous announcements, the management has obviously pressed the reset key, giving up original savings and restructuring plans to cure the ailing airline. At least this is what Reuters News Agency informs when quoting internal Air France union sources. The Reuters report states that Air France has agreed to drop its “Plan-B” which would come into effect if the pilots did not agree to the management’s terms: which they did not up to now!

So! – where’s the catch?
The new planning which is being outlined by Air France and which has been presented to the carrier’s workers council says that Air France will target growth in its long-haul network as of 2017.
What they’ll target, and how, is not revealed.
One can only assume at the present time that the French national carrier will aim at cutting long-haul routes even further and start laying off crews.
This seems apparent considering that the statement says that “the measures are conditional on greater productivity efforts from pilots and cabin crew.”

If they don’t tag along - then it’s back to square one!

The carrier also announced that 2015 would show an operating profit for the first time since 2008 and that it is planned that net investments in the airline would exceed EUR 1 billion by 2020.

 Back to Plan-B and musical chairs?

John Mc Donagh

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