Air France has laid out “immediate and concrete measures” to improve the daily lives of workers at the airline. Anne-Marie Couderc, who is temporarily leading the carrier said the measures were in response to concerns raised by employees during a recent staff consultation. The plan was quickly rejected by a coalition of unions.
Couderc said the measures would focus on two main areas – the first would be to find money in order to improve the daily work life of employees, while the second would look at a new approach to listening and reacting to staff concerns.
Unions have already led 15-days of walkouts so far this year and a further four-day strike is expected to start on 23rd June over a bitter dispute concerning a pay raise for all workers at the airline. Couderc has previously said there is a “malaise” at the airline which goes way beyond issues of monetary remuneration.
Air France management has said it has approved an exceptional budget to create the “best possible conditions” for its employees to work in. Initially, this will focus on the renovation of ramp facilities at Paris Orly airport, as well as an improvement of crew rest areas at all Air France premises.
But in a joint statement, trade union’s said they didn’t even want to comment on what they see as cosmetic changes that don’t get to the root of the problem.
Couderc and her team have not been given a mandate to enter new pay negotiations with the unions until a new chief executive is appointed in July. As a result, the unions have confirmed that the proposed strike action will go ahead as planned.
Unions have been demanding an immediate 6% pay raise for all employees but this was rejected by the airline’s management who eventually offered a multi-year pay deal. Senior executives claim the actions of the unions are jeopardising the very future of the airline.
The strike action has already cost Air France in excess of €600 million and executives at Dutch carrier, KLM was even forced to reject claims they were assessing the possibility of de-merging the two companies. In the last couple of weeks, French hotel and hospitality brand AccorHotels suggested it might be willing to buy a 14% stake in the airline which is currently owned by the government.