Pilots concluded their strike of Air France Sunday after their primary union blessed their return to work even though a new collective-bargaining agreement has not been reached. The SNPL union wants to continue negotiations on a deal without the tension caused by the walkout, BBC News reported.
Air France -- and the French government, owner of about one-sixth the airline’s parent Air France KLM SA -- had rejected an SNPL offer Friday to end the work stoppage with the appointment of an independent mediator.
Julien Doboz, a representative of SPAF, another pilots’ union at Air France, confirmed the end of the strike for Reuters. However, SNPL has yet to comment on the deal to return to work.
Air France KLM wants to decrease its costs and increase the size of Transavia, its budget carrier. In conjunction with the low-cost carrier’s expansion, 1,000 people in general and 250 pilots in particular would be hired in France, but Air France pilots and their unions have concerns about pay and working conditions. SNPL wants the new Transavia pilots to have the same working agreement as Air France pilots.
Annual salaries for Air France pilots begin at about $100,000, and they can rise to as much as $300,000, the Wall Street Journal reported. Air France pilots also work less than Transavia pilots -- 630 hours versus 700 hours per year of flying time -- and they have a comprehensive compensation package.
The recent walkout led to the cancellation of about one-half of Air France flights during the past two weeks. The airline said the strike costing around $25 million per day and affected more than 500,000 travelers, the New York Times reported.
Air France KLM said Friday it would scrap most of its Transavia expansion plans, but that did not end the strike. While the parent company would reduce the scale of expansion, it insisted the Air France and Transavia pilots work under separate contracts, the Times said.