Air France Could Fail Without Strategy Change, Unions Say

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Air France unions representing pilots, flight attendants and ground workers joined forces to denounce the airline’s strategy, saying it’s at risk of going under without investment in fleet and personnel.

The 14 labor groups want the French state, which owns 15 percent of parent Air France-KLM Group, to block a management strategy of allowing job cuts through attrition, according to a joint statement. Participating organizations include SNPL Air France Alpa, the main pilot union, and CFDT, whose members include many airport ground staff.

“Air France may disappear, not because of the social conditions and the employees who showed their involvement through years of effort, but from the poor choices made by management and the trade-offs of the government, which compromise the viability of the company,” the unions said.

A spokeswoman for Air France said the company had no comment on the statement.

SNPL Air France Alpa said it has no intention of striking this summer and doesn’t want to upset people’s vacation plans, though won’t hesitate to take action later in the year if it feels the airline and government are ignoring union pleas.

“We’ve declared that we’ll focus on social dialog for the summer, but it remains the case that we’re very worried that the airline is not going in the right direction,” SNPL President Philippe Evain said in a telephone interview.

Employees are particularly concerned about French press reports predicting thousands of job cuts, Evain said.

Air France last month denied a Le Monde report suggesting that an additional 3,000 posts would go, including pilot positions. The carrier has said it remains in negotiations about cutting costs and that nothing has been decided.

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