If Air France staff reject pay offer, French PM warns of ‘turbulence’

French Prime Minster Edouard Philippe said on Thursday that Air France (PA:AIRF) faces a period of “turbulence” if it loses a battle with unions who are striking to press pay demands.

After unions rejected the proposal as too modest, Air France is balloting staff over its offer of a 7 percent pay rise over four years. Chief Executive Jean-Marc Janaillac has said it would be hard for him to stay if staff vote against the offer.

Philippe said Janaillac had shown “courage” by putting his job on the line and warned that a negative vote could further harm the company.

He told Europe 1 radio that if the consultation did not produce the results he hoped for and he took the consequences, everyone should fasten their seat belts because the turbulence will not be minor. A company that loses its boss in these conditions is not well placed to face the future.

The industrial action, affecting about 30 percent of Air France flights, over the last month has coincided with French railway strikes resulting in widespread travel disruption.

SNCF workers have launched a series of protests against reform plans by President Emmanuel Macron’s government, designed to stem the state-owned railway’s losses and cut debt./Reuters.com

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