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Air France Pilots Union to Scrutinize Attendants’ Accord

March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Air France-KLM Group, Europe’s biggest airline, may have to delay an efficiency program as labor leaders for pilots at the main French unit seek to ensure their concessions match terms reached with flight attendants.

The SNPL union, which represents about 70 percent of the Air France brand’s pilots, is checking whether provisions of a cost-cutting accord approved this month by cabin crew members fulfill the Paris-based company’s announced target of a 20 percent increase of productivity for all employees, Louis Jobard, the spokesman for the labor group, said by phone.

Pilots, who signed an agreement with Air France last July, have suspended implementation of any cost-cutting measure not already in place because SNPL members think flight attendants secured better conditions in their new contract, French newspaper La Tribune reported earlier today, citing representatives of the labor group it didn’t name.

“It’s a little excessive to say that we don’t want to collaborate in the implementation” of the company’s so-called Transform 2015, Jobard said. “We want to make all the efforts necessary to turn this company back to profitability.”

Cedric Leurquin, a spokesman for Air France, declined to comment by phone.

Air France, which had a 300 million-euro ($389 million) group operating loss last year, is scrapping 5,000 jobs at the French unit and 1,300 more at the smaller Dutch brand KLM to align costs with those of its main competitors. The company reached a deal with ground staff in addition to the pilots in July, while cabin-crews unions refused to sign it, with those talks extending until February.

“Do we need this argument?” the UNAC union, the largest of three representing Air France cabin crews, said today on an online statement. “We have no intention of getting involved in a new fight with the pilots union.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Mathieu Rosemain in Paris at mrosemain@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net

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