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AIR FRANCE

Finally: Air France and unions seal deal to end months of strikes

Air France management and unions announced on Friday that they had reached a deal aimed at ending months of strikes that set the airline back hundreds of millions of euros.

Finally: Air France and unions seal deal to end months of strikes
Photo: AFP

Five unions representing 76.4 percent of the personnel accepted management's offer of a four-percent pay rise to be spread over 2018 and 2019, the two sides announced.

“This agreement is therefore considered valid and will be implemented,” Air France announced.

The deal is a feather in the cap of new Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith, who took the helm in August after a turbulent few months marked by 15 days of strikes, which caused widespread travel disruptions.

Canadian-born Smith, the airline's first non-French boss, succeeded Jean-Marc Janaillac who resigned in May after failing to get unions — who had been seeking a five-percent pay hike — to call off months of strikes.

Under the final deal, workers will receive a two-percent increase for 2018, retroactive to the start of the year, and a further two-percent increase in January 2019.

In a statement, Smith thanked the various parties “for the quality of our discussions over the past few weeks”, adding: “This way of working between all parties provides Air France and the Air France-KLM Group with a new perspective going forward, and it is my hope that it will ensure the future success of our airlines.”

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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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