Air France faces new strikes over domestic network cuts By Reuters


PARIS (Reuters) – Air France (PA:) unions have called for strikes at domestic carrier Hop, as pilots seek an improved pay offer and ground staff representatives press for job guarantees, union officials said on Wednesday.

The strike calls, reported earlier by French news site La Tribune, pose a new challenge to plans by Air France-KLM Chief Executive Ben Smith to cut back the French carrier’s loss-making domestic network and restore its profitability.

The Franco-Dutch airline group had no immediate comment on the planned industrial action, a spokesman said.

Following a Tuesday works council, French ground-staff unions said they were maintaining a call for Feb. 21-22 strikes and stoppages at Paris Orly and provincial airports, as the SNPL pilots’ union called a first strike by Hop pilots for Feb. 24.

“Ground staff have made all the efforts asked of them, but it’s never enough,” five staff unions said in a joint statement.

The CFDT, CFE-CGC, CGT, FO and UNSA unions also expressed concern about widespread job outsourcing and called for new hires and transfers to fill gaps left by voluntary buyouts.

The pilots have rejected a management pay proposal that amounts to a 3% overall increase, according to La Tribune. An SNPL union official was not immediately available.

Air France labor relations have seen a period of relative calm since CEO Smith’s arrival in 2018, after a wave of strikes that cost 335 million euros ($362 million) and forced his predecessor out. He now plans to cut the short-haul fleet to 50-60 aircraft from 70 and close the worst-performing routes.

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