Staff, including pilots and cabin crew, at France’s biggest airline are on strike, seeking a six percent salary hike across the board to compensate for what they say are stagnating wages and inflation.
The demand is far greater than the offer made by management, a general increase of 1 percent to be paid in two installments, as well as incentives. The company has also proposed a salary-adjustment mechanism for staff whose individual salary increased less quickly than the inflation between 2011 and 2017.
Eleven trade unions at the company, covering all categories of workers, have rejected the offer and promised another walkout on 30th of March.
SNPL union leader Philippe Evain says salaries need to be adjusted, especially since the company is making a profit.
"The employees are outraged, they want to get what they had been promised. At Air France, salaries have not been increased since 2012. Including those of pilots, contrary to what the management suggests," said Evain.
Air France advice
Ahead of the walkout, the company said it was ensuring 75 percent of flights, including 70 precent of long-haul and 70 percent of medium-haul flights from and to Paris Charles de Gaulle, the city’s main airport, as well as 80 precent of short flights to and from Orly Airport.
In total, the flight program is the same as on the 22nd of February, when workers staged the first strike, although the disruption was more significant on long-haul flights, and less elsewhere. The strike will be costly for the company - € 26 million per day of strike.
In spite of the losses, for those suffering with cancelled flights and delays today, Air France says tickets can be changed at no cost.
"Air France regrets this situation and is making every effort to minimize the inconvenience this strike action may cause to its customers,” said a company statement. "Air France recommends its customers with a flight reservation on 23 March to postpone their trip or change their ticket at no extra cost."