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Air France boss resigns after striking staff reject pay deal

Eric Piermont, AFP | Air France-KLM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marc Janaillac at a press conference in Paris on April 20 as Air France staff continued a strike.

Making good on an earlier pledge, Air France-KLM Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marc Janaillac resigned on Friday after striking staff voted to reject a proposed salary deal, with more than 55 percent of employees voting "No" to the plan.


Janaillac announced his resignation Friday after staff at the carrier's French operations rejected a pay deal aimed at ending weeks of strikes.

"I accept the consequences of this vote and will tender my resignation to the boards of Air France and Air France-KLM in coming days," said Janaillac.

In an electronic vote on Friday, Air France employees rejected management's offer for a 2 percent pay rise this year and an additional 5 percent raise from 2019 to 2021.

Employees were asking for a 5.1 percent raise this year.

The chief executive of Air France-KLM raised the stakes earlier in the day, warning he would quit if employees rejected the company's latest offer on wages after weeks of rolling strikes by pilots and other workers.

Janaillac, 65, called a company-wide vote at its Air France unit on the proposed 7 percent raise over the next four years, but unions said it was not enough after wage freezes that have been in place since 2012 as part of Air France's efforts to return to solid profits.

Airline staff began a 13th day of intermittent strikes on Friday, prompting the cancellation of one-quarter of flights on average.

>> Strikes in France: A guide to navigating transport, childcare and more

The move coincided with Air France-KLM's release of first-quarter earnings, which showed a net loss of €269 million ($322 million), weighed down by three days of strikes during the period that cost about €25 million per day.

The French government, which owns a minority stake in the group, is watching the situation closely given the general atmosphere of discontent roiling the country, with rail workers, public servants and students also protesting a wide-ranging reform drive launched by President Emmanuel Macron.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has called on both sides "to assume their responsibilities".

Delano D'Souza reports on the Air France vote

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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