The former head of Air France sparked outrage when it was revealed that he and his wife were about to fly to Mauritius in business class for just €24 ($30).

"/> The former head of Air France sparked outrage when it was revealed that he and his wife were about to fly to Mauritius in business class for just €24 ($30).

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AIR FRANCE

Former Air France boss in cheap ticket row

The former head of Air France sparked outrage when it was revealed that he and his wife were about to fly to Mauritius in business class for just €24 ($30).

Former Air France boss in cheap ticket row
Llee Wu

The cheap ticket perk is part of Pierre-Henri Gourgeon’s severance package from the airline, which he left in October 2011.

Every current and former Air France employee has the right to tickets at reduced rates, but the €24 cost was exceptionally low.

“To travel in business class to Mauritius would cost an ordinary Air France employee €745,” said a union leader.

“There’s also an embargo usually on flights to Mauritius at this time of the year which was lifted for the Gourgeon family,” said another source, reported French daily Libération.

The issue caused strong reactions as it came at the time when Air France-KLM is planning €2 billion of savings and changes in contracts of its employees.

“It’s a scandal,” said a pilot, who preferred to remain anonymous. “Mr Gourgeon was paid more than a million euros a year and he can’t buy his own tickets?”

By the end of the day, Gourgeon had decided to change his tickets and pay the regular rate open to all Air France staff.

A spokesperson for the airline said he had done this out of “solidarity with the employees of this company to which he remains very attached.”

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STRIKES

French customs officers strike over job cuts

Customs officers across France will walk out on Thursday in protest at job cuts that unions say will “weaken the customs network”.

French customs officers strike over job cuts

The national strike on Thursday, March 10th is expected to lead to delays at ports, airports and on the Eurostar.

The strike, which will include a rally outside the National Assembly building in Paris, was called by the CFDT-Douane and has the support of other unions. 

A work-to-rule protest over pay and conditions by customs officers in 2019, under the shadow of Brexit, led to delays and disruption at airports, as well as ports including Calais and Dunkirk, and on Eurostar trains.

Unions are calling on the government to axe plans to switch responsibility for import duty collection to the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques by 2024, at the cost of 700 customs’ officer jobs – and, according to strikers, tens of billions of euros to State coffers.

“We are asking for the reforms to be stopped, mainly that of the transfer of taxation, which is disorganising the network with the elimination of nearly a thousand jobs,” CFDT-Douane’s secretary general David-Olivier Caron said.

The planned job cuts come after years of restructuring and streamlining that has seen thousands of positions disappear, the unions say, when customs fraud and smuggling is rising because of a lack of resources.

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