Air France hostesses and stewards are to embark on a three-day strike from tomorrow, which may cause travel and flight disruption for passengers across the country. The company’s cabin crew are angered by plans to introduce a new medium and long haul company – Boost – to Air France’s roster with new working conditions for staff. Five unions in total argue that the contracts being put forward will lead to poorer working conditions, reduced pay and added stress to an already aging fleet.
In a statement made today by the airline, Air France has said, “A call for strike action has been issued by several Air France cabin crew unions, for the period from 18th to 20th March 2017. Air France continues to favour social dialogue to find compromise solutions. It is too early to have a clear view of the outcome of these talks and the consequences of this strike action on our flight schedule.”
Although the unions represent 13,500 staff, the number of employees planning to join the strike action is not yet known, as confirmed by Air France: “As soon as we will have a more accurate estimate of the number of employees on strike and the impact on our operations, our flight schedule will be adapted accordingly and published the day before your departure. The update of our schedule for 18th March is currently on going. Some flights may be cancelled. Furthermore, in order to ensure a maximum number of flights with a reduced crew composition, we may be forced to limit the number of passengers on board some of our flights which would mean we may not be able to honour all reservations. Customers affected by the cancellation of their reservation will be informed the day before departure.”
In an attempt to soothe passengers concerns, the airline adds: “Please note that Air France flights operated by an aircraft of other airlines, including HOP! would not be affected by this strike. Without waiting, we offer you rebooking options at no extra cost, whatever the fare paid. During the strike, internet check-in service will be exceptionally available 15 hours before your flight departure time.”
Air France will likely be keen to avoid any prolonged strike action considering that last summer’s similar strike led to 1,400 flights being cancelled in one week (20% of daily flights). It reportedly cost the company 90 million euros.