In a bid to bring a bitter pay dispute to an end, Olivier Dulat, Air France’s chief operating officer has made an impassioned plea to the airline’s staff in an article in French language newspaper, Les Echos. Dulat calls on workers to vote “yes” to a direct pay proposal which effectively bypasses unions after negotiations failed to yield a positive result for the company.
Yesterday, a coalition of unions announced a further four days of strike action – set to take place on 3rd and 4th May, as well as the 7th and 8th May. If the strikes go ahead, they will bring the total number of days staff have walked out this year to 15 – the last 11 days of strike action have cost Air France in excess of €300 million.
The airline’s president, Jean-Marc Janaillac sent an email to his employees earlier this week asking them to vote on a proposal that would see workers get a 7% pay raise over the next five years. Staff have until 4th May to submit their vote on the proposal.
Janaillac has said his position at the airline would become untenable if the result is “no”. Even France’s Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe has waded into the dispute, urging staff to accept the revised offer.
“When you are a pilot at Air France, stopping in New York, Tokyo or Stockholm, you can only see that the world of air is changing, developing and consolidating. The competition is extraordinarily aggressive and dynamic,” writes Dulat.
“I can not accept that the current stagnation is moving us away. The strikes we have suffered since February have very heavy impacts on our operations, our teams, and of course our customers.”
“To put an end to the conflict, a real “growth pact” has been proposed to ensure this reconquest. This is a proposal to avoid backtracking while committing to long-term pay improvements and creating the conditions for sustainable growth.”
Unions have demanded an immediate 6% pay raise for all employees at the company. Hundreds of thousands of passengers have been impacted by the strikes so far and a recent European court ruling could mean they are eligible for denied boarding compensation – a ruling that could create a multi-million Euro bill for Air France.
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.