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Photo: Air France

Air France passengers face two strikes

Turbulence ahead as unions vote to stage strikes on both of the upcoming Fridays.

Air France passengers face more turbulence ahead as unions vote to stage strikes on both of the upcoming Fridays – on March 23 and on Easter Friday, March 30.

Around 10 unions representing the airline’s cabin crews and ground staff voted to support a call for a walkout on March 30. The unions had already announced a strike for March 23.

An earlier strike on February 22 forced the cancellation of half the airline’s long-haul flights from Paris and many short-haul flights were also grounded to and from France’s airports.

The unions demand a 6% pay increase, arguing that they should share in the company’s improved earnings. A wage freeze has been in place since 2011.

The airline’s management, however, is offering a raise of 1% to be paid in two instalments and a number of incentives – an offer that unions dismiss “small change”.

“The management has at no time tried to resolve the situation and has even tried to divide the workers with a proposition to individualise pay rises,” a union spokesperson said.

Jeopardising growth
The company said in a statement that “after listening to [unions’] demands for a 6% general pay increase, management reminded them that the company’s economic and financial situation, in a particularly aggressive competitive environment, made this general pay increase impossible without jeopardising its growth, investment and resumed recruitment.”

It added: “Management has asked the unions to lift their strike notice and has indicated that it is willing to begin talks as quickly as possible.”

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