Air France is to axe more than 5,000 jobs as part of a cost-cutting plan.
It’s looking to save 2 billion euros by 2014 to reduce its debt and lower operating costs
. The French carrier is part of the loss-making Air France-KLM Group and employs 70,000 people. It says it hopes to avoid forced layoffs, but says they’ll be unavoidable without unions support. France’s CGT union say they’ve been put in an impossible situation.
SOUNDBITE: David Ricatte, General Secretary, CGT Air France saying (French): “You see we feel like we’re being taken hostage and we have a little niggle at the back of our minds saying ‘Are you signing or are you not signing?’. That blackmail is unacceptable to our union, that’s not how we work.”
The cuts come at a time when the global airline industry struggles with limited growth, rising fuel costs and the ongoing euro zone crisis. It’s also a blow to the country’s new Socialist government who’d pledged to reduce the country’s unemployment level which is running at ten percent.
New rules are planned to make it harder for firms to fire workers. That’s the future, for now unions say they have lots of unanswered questions and aren’t ruling out industrial action in the busy summer holiday period.
By Hayley Platt, Reuters