Jul 27, 2016

    Air France cabin crew to stage week-long strike


    AIR FRANCE flight attendants will begin a week-long strike today, downing tools at the height of the country's holiday-travel period.

    According to initial estimates, the company said on Monday it will have to cancel some 30 per cent of domestic and medium-haul flights and fewer than 10 per cent of long-haul ones.

    Launching a strike in the middle of summer is "total nonsense", said Air France chief executive Frederic Gagey.

    Last summer, it flew an average of 1,000 flights a day, carrying some 140,000 passengers.

    Flights to European destinations, north Africa and Israel will be affected, as well as some routes in Asia and Africa, the company said.

    At issue is the duration of an accord setting working rules, pay and promotions that is due to expire in October.

    Management has proposed an extension of 17 months while the unions are demanding a period of between three and five years.

    In late June, the new chief executive of the Air France-KLM group, Jean-Marc Janaillac, warded off a pilots' strike that would have been the second such stoppage during the Euro 2016 football tournament.

    Their unions dropped the strike call after he proposed freezing new pay rules opposed by the pilots in exchange for a four-month truce.

    The pilots' last strike, which grounded around 20 per cent of flights from June 11 to 14, hit France as it was gripped by social unrest over a series of disputed labour reforms from the Socialist government.

    The SNPNC-FO and UNSA-PNC unions say they represent 45 per cent of the flight attendants.

    Flight crews account for 13,600 of Air France's 50,000-strong workforce.