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Air France staff threaten January strike action

Kenzo Tribouillard, AFP file picture | Air France staff protest outside the airline’s headquarters near the Charles de Gaulle airport, outside Paris, on October 5, 2015

Two unions representing Air France staff have called for strikes in January to protest the suspension of several employees in connection with the infamous “shirt-ripping” incident and plans to cut 3,000 jobs over the next two years.


UGICT-CGT, the largest of the two unions, has called for a strike on January 28 to protest the job cuts as well as the legal action taken against five employees involved in an October 5 attack on Air France officials after the airline presented its restructuring plan.

The union is also protesting the airline’s plans to spin off some of its operations.
“In 2016 we’re letting nothing go,” the union wrote in its call for action.

Another union, the much smaller Alter which represents only 10 percent of all Air France pilots, has called for a much longer strike, set to take place between January 10 and 13, “to protest the scandalous disciplinary procedures” involving two of its members.

The two pilots represented by Alter were suspended in October after helping angry demonstrators enter the company’s headquarters near the Charles de Gaulle airport in connection with the October layoff announcement.

Violent demonstration in October

Pictures of two Air France executives fleeing the October demonstration – dress shirts and suit jackets ripped – made headlines around the world and set off a war of words between French authorities and leaders sympathetic to the Air France workers. Two security guards were also injured in the incident.

French President François Hollande condemned the violence as “unacceptable”, saying it threatened the France’s image, Prime Minister Manuel Valls called the attackers “thugs”.

The union has asked the government, which owns 17.6 percent of the airline, to take a larger stake in the carrier and to become more involved in the talks – but the government has declined.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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