Air France plans 1,000 voluntary job cuts in 2016

October 19, 2015 9:20 am 

PARIS, Oct. 19 — Air France, France's leading flag carrier, would slash about 1,000 posts next year as part of a restructuring plan that triggered violent protests and scuffles, Alexandre de Juniac, the chief executive of parent company Air France-KLM said on Sunday.

Speaking to RTL radio and the LCI news channel, de Juniac announced "measure of voluntary departure are expected for less than one third of the total (2,900 job cuts planned over 2016-2017) ".

After failing to convince pilots to work more for the same wage, under new productivity measures, Air France unveiled its "Plan B" based on massive lay-offs and reduced flights to trim losses and boost productivity.

"The 'Plan B' takes place over two years, 2016 and 2017. For 2016 it is under way," Air France-KLM top official said.

"If negotiations are successful by the beginning of 2016, we can avoid implementing Plan B for 2017, which means reverting to the 'Plan A', the 'Perform' plan," he added.

Under its Perform 2020 plan, Air France eyes to trim 1.5 percent in unit costs per year between 2015-2017 and to report positive free cash flow every year by the base businesses.

As part of its cost-cutting program needed to face fierce competition, the French company eyes to cut 1,700 ground staff, 900 cabin crew and 300 pilots over the next two years.

In addition, it wants to reduce the long-haul business by 10 percent over the period with a major focus on low-profits destinations mainly Asia and Middle East.

All these measures were "vital to ensuring the long-term future of Air France and allow it to finance its growth", according to Air France officials but provoked workers' anger and caused chaos at the flag carrier's headquarters at Charles de Gaulle airport during management meeting on October 5.

According to video recordings and footage broadcasted by local medias, angry workers tore the clothes of human resources head Xavier Broseta and long-haul service executive Pierre Plissonnier while they tried to flee the crowd.

Six employees have been suspended without pay and could be sentenced to three years in jail and pay up to 45,000 euros (USD51,075), according to local reports. (PNA/Xinhua)

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