Passengers hoping to fly with Air France on 23rd and 30th March could well be in for a testing time as a coalition of 10 unions representing workers at the airline confirm their intentions to stage two 24-hour strikes. Workers are unhappy with a proposed pay rise of just 1% and have instead demanded a 6% increase for all of Air France’s employees.
Unions reps met with Air France management last Tuesday in a bid to negotiate a settlement but instead walked away from the meeting saying airline bosses had made no attempt to “unblock the situation.” Calling the meeting “sterile”, the unions are now calling on all workers, including non-union members, to walk out on both dates.
Air France’s operations were disrupted on 22nd February when its employees staged a 24-hour walkout in protest at the company’s pay offer. The proposed strikes could ground even more planes and leave thousands of passengers stranded.
At the moment the airline can’t yet say how big an impact the union action could have, instead, putting out a statement which said “it remains too early to ascertain the effects this strike might have on our flight schedule.
Referencing only the 23rd March strike on its website, Air France is telling passengers that they will have the opportunity to move or postpone their trip on all bookings made on or before 16th March.
While some services may be cancelled, other passengers might be bumped off their flight even if the service isn’t cancelled because Air France may be forced to limit passenger numbers due to reduced crew complements.
In a bid to avert a mass employee walkout, Air France said they would offer pay rises above 1% to certain employees so that to make up for a shortfall in wages versus inflation. The unions, however, were less than impressed – claiming it was a cynical plan from the airline’s management designed to divide workers.
The unions will be meeting again this week and even more, strikes might be announced they say. It seems like the situation at Air France isn’t going to be resolved anytime soon.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.