Air France CEO resigns after employees reject wage offer

08 May, 2018, 01:38 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • United we stand Alex Ferguson transformed Manchester's Red Devils

At Air France - which is part of an airline alliance with Dutch carrier KLM - the labor dispute intensified on Friday when staff rejected a pay deal worth seven percent over four years.

It was the first chance investors had had to respond to chief executive Jean-Marc Janaillac's resignation and comments by France's economy minister.

By 1455 BST, Air France shares were 9.91% lower at €7.29.

Unionised staff are set to walk out for the 14th day on Monday as they press for a 5.1 percent salary increase this year as the company recovers from years of losses and restructuring.

But over at Air France, that well-oiled worker conflict played out in a decidedly more retro fashion.

Janaillac warned a year ago that volatile fuel prices and geopolitical risks could threaten the company's turnaround, but didn't appear to predict the heavy toll that the strikes would take.

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Air France-KLM CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac announced his decision to resign Friday as Air France crews and ground staff held their 13th day of strikes over pay and rejected the company's wage proposal.

While airlines from Deutsche Lufthansa AG to British Airways - and lately even low-priced specialist Ryanair Holdings Plc - have all had their share of corporate dysfunction brought on by strikes, none has suffered to the extent as Air France.

"The survival of Air France is in the balance", he said, adding that the state would not serve as a backstop for the airline's debts.

Analysts have compared a rejection of management's pay proposal by workers to "pressing the self destruct button", and French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Sunday said the worker's demands were "unjustified", urging them to show "responsibility".

The airline said it anticipated operating 75 percent of medium-haul flights and 95 percent of long-haul services to and from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, and 82 percent of short-haul flights. Strikes have already cost the company €300 million. The company has now taken the plan off the table. "There are still no meetings planned for further negotiations", Philippe Evain, leader of the SNPL pilots union told RTL radio. However, the French government assured that it will not be responsible for the company's losses.

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