“The survival of Air France is in the balance,” France’s economy minister, Bruno Le Maire, said of ongoing labor strikes that have caused a wave of flight cancelations.
Workers walked out on the job to demand higher wages and have been on strike since April to strengthen their position. Air France, which merged with Dutch carrier KLM in 2004, offered workers a 2% raise in 2018, with a further 5% over the following three years, but the union wants 5.1 % increase this year.
The Air France strike coincides with a walkout by France’s rail workers, who left their jobs to protest President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to overhaul the state-run train operator SNCF. The concurrent strikes have plunged the country into a transportation nightmare that might not let up anytime soon. In short, if you have to go to France right now, plan accordingly (aka bring a hoverboard).
Here are five things to know about the Air France strike:
- Despite the strike, Air France believes it will be able to send out 99% of its long-haul flights on Monday, 80% of medium-haul, and 87% of short-haul.
- In a surprise move, Air France CEO Jean Marc Janaillac resigned after workers rejected a pay deal designed to end the strike.
- While the French government is Air France’s largest shareholder, with a 14% stake, it has said it will not bail out the company.
- Unions said on Monday they would not renew their strike notice, meaning no further strikes are planned for now, but warned that “the fight is not over.“
- Strikes have already cost Air France €300m ($356 million).
If you have a ticket on Air France, consider re-booking. Head here for details.