Air France-KLM, the struggling Franco-Dutch airline group, warned on Thursday it was overstaffed but said it was still seeking ways to avoid forced departures as part of its turnaround plans.

"/> Air France-KLM, the struggling Franco-Dutch airline group, warned on Thursday it was overstaffed but said it was still seeking ways to avoid forced departures as part of its turnaround plans.

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Air France-KLM admits overstaffing problems

Air France-KLM, the struggling Franco-Dutch airline group, warned on Thursday it was overstaffed but said it was still seeking ways to avoid forced departures as part of its turnaround plans.

Air France-KLM admits overstaffing problems

It was the first time Air France-KLM, which employs 53,000 people, publicly referred to an excess of staff.

In a progress report on a three-year turnaround strategy announced in January, the company also said 34 planes would be cut from its short- and medium-haul Air France fleet of 250 aircraft by 2014.

Chief executive Alexandre de Juniac explained that most of the planes were leased and would be returned.

The fleet for Air France-KLM’s low-cost unit Transavia, which operates flights to destinations in Europe and the Mediterranean, would however triple in size from eight to to 22 planes by 2016, the company said.

Newspaper reports on Monday said Air France-KLM was looking to cut 5,000 jobs over three years, about half through voluntary payoffs.

According to French daily Le Figaro, management is counting on 800 people leaving the company through normal attrition, but will also open a voluntary buyout offer for all personnel, including pilots.

French news site LaTribune.fr said the buyout offer would affect 2,500 to 3,000 jobs.

The cost-cutting plan, including wage freezes and investment reductions, aims at saving at least two billion euros ($2.6 billion), reducing debt and increasing productivity by 20 percent.

Air France-KLM aims to reduce its net debt by two billion euros to about 4.5 billion euros by the end of 2014.

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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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