Will latest agreement between Air France and unions see an end to costly pay standoff?

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Only two months after taking over the helm as CEO of Air France-KLM, Ben Smith and the management of Air France have announced that they have reached a deal with most unions that is hoped will see an end to costly strikes which, this year, cost the carrier US$385 million.

While five unions, representing 76.4% of company personnel have accepted the accord which offers a 4% pay raise, 2% backdated to January 1, 2018 and another 2% in January 2019, it is understood that SNPL, the main French pilots’ union is holding out for better terms. Unions had been demanding a 5.1% raise in pay, backdated to the 2012-2017 period. However, Air France confirmed that the present agreement is “considered valid and will be implemented.”

Farid Slimai, a spokesman for the Unsa-Sol union which represents ground personnel, said the unions finally accepted management’s offer as an “act of confidence aimed at Ben Smith” and to help the airline “move on and look to the future.”

Smith thanked the various parties “for the quality of our discussions over the past few weeks,” saying in addition that: “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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