French pilots’ union announces five weeks of strike days in salary dispute

French pilots' union announces five weeks of strike days in salary dispute
The intermittent strike is set to start on Monday, February 24th. Photo: AFP
French airline pilots have called for five weeks of strike action starting on Monday, demanding increased salaries and better working conditions.

The union representing the pilots of Air France’s cut-price European airline Hop has declared strike action starting on Monday, February 24th in an attempt to force the airline's hand in currently stagnated talks over work conditions and salaries.

Hop operates internal flights within France and European routes, but does not offer long-haul services.

If their demands are not met, the Syndicat National des Pilotes de Ligne (SNPL) will continue the strike every Friday until April 30th (a total strike of 144 hours over 12 days, according to their strike notice).

Anyone scheduled to travel with Hop should therefore check with the airline. Air France updates its flight schedule in real time on its website and on its smartphone apps.

SNPL – which represents 61 percent of Hop pilots – has been negotiating with Air France to have Hop pilots’ salaries raised and their work conditions aligned with those with pilots of the main Air France airline.

SNPL left the table this week, rejecting the management's proposal of a 3 percent salary increase.

READ ALSO 16 French phrases to use if you get caught up in a strike

Air France was long ridden by social conflict and strikes, but since the company got a new CEO in 2018 labour relations have been calmer. Photo: AFP

The upcoming Hop strike will add another layer to what has been a mounting pile of problems for Air France. 

The company has also been struggling with social tensions inside its main airline, with five unions (CGT, FO, CFDT and CFE-CGC) demanding increased job security following outsourcing and new hires to fill gaps left by voluntary redundancies.

A strike scheduled for this week was pushed until next Friday and Saturday in the regional airports and in Paris’ airport Orly. 

The airline also experienced some disruption during weeks of mass transportation strikes in December while the coronavirus outbreak forced them to suspend several routes.

Air-France bosses this week warned that their total loss from the coronavirus outbreak alone would be between €150 and €200 million by April

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