After five days of a particularly followed by strike, the hostesses and stewards of Air France should return to work today. At the end of a General Assembly, yesterday afternoon, the main unions of PNC (commercial flight personnel), met in Inter-Union, have called on their members to stop the strike, launched last Thursday. The CGT, who pleaded for a renewal of the movement, is attached to this call. The program of Air France, still very disturbed yesterday with 30 of the cancelled flights, should normally be provided on long-haul lines and 90 the domestic and European because of the time required for the resumption of the work network.
But the conflict could resume in the coming weeks, absence of an agreement between management and unions on the adjustment of remuneration and working conditions. If both parties agree to resume talks, the five days of a strike have not resulted on the less advanced, while the collective agreement of the PNC theoretically runs out December 31. The unions hope however that the strong mobilization of the PNC, which visibly surprised the direction of Air France, starting with its President and CEO Jean-Cyril Spinetta, will be sufficient to obtain concessions.
Last night, no date had even stopped for a resumption of negotiations. But Jean-Cyril Spinetta said he is "ready" to put a table with the unions "today", to discuss "all issues", including the issue of wages, but without "ultimatum" on a prior financial envelope. "The next meeting was scheduled for November 8, but we will certainly advance the date," said for his part, on behalf of the Inter-Union, SNPL Fatiha Schneider Chair, not excluding a possible resumption of discussions today. If necessary, these negotiations could even continue beyond the deadline of December 31, which eventually would avoid a new deadlock on the eve of the Christmas holiday. "Even if we have not concluded a memorandum of understanding, we have already managed to agree on a new calendar of negotiations, which might extend beyond December 31", confirms Fatiha Schneider.
Risk of a new strike
Remains whether the direction, which was announced in may a new savings plan of EUR 1.4 billion over three years to the level of the Air France-KLM group, will be prepared to meet the wage claims of 14,000 PNC of Air France, which would be in the State to an increase of 15 of salaries. "With behind us 80 of strikers, the Directorate will have change its way of discussing", view Fatiha Schneider. Since the beginning of the renegotiation of the collective agreement, last June, the representatives of the Directorate have said have no envelope to increase. This speech seems more appropriate, but nevertheless, Jean-Cyril Spinetta refused "the ultimatum" of the intersyndicale, claiming the commitments on a financial package before any resumption of discussions. "Ask us not all that, before even that discussions begin, we put a financial package on the table." "We we refuse is not social dialogue is an ultimatum, it's accountability on the part of a branch, and therefore it is not, and it is a non-categorical", he said, yesterday, on RTL. Also, the CEO of Air France-KLM denied claims of trade unions on the level of remuneration, including stating that the monthly salary of early career amounted to 1.845 euros, including the 13th and 14th month, and not 1,300 euros as shown by the unions.
Unions and management will therefore hard to reconcile their points of view and the risk of a new strike year is not to exclude. The Government and some members is there are indeed not deceived, considering extending the principle of minimum service in the land transport applicable to January 1, 2008, air transport to prevent that scenes of chaos found this weekend to Roissy and Orly. It would indeed require personal strikers to declare at least 48 hours in advance, so the company can adapt the flights as a result. But this initiative is likely to further complicate the resolution of the conflict.