Taking an Air France plane during the end of the year celebrations should not ultimately be a nightmare for passengers. The strike notice launched by the two majority organizations among the company’s cabin crew (PNC), the Union of Air France Group Flight Crew (SNGAF) and the Union of Civil Aviation Flight Crew (UNAC), which runs from December 22, 2022 to January 2, 2023, would meet only a very limited response. According to our information, only 5% to 6% of Air France hostesses and stewards have already declared themselves to be on strike. Since 2012, the Diard law obliges employees who directly contribute to carrying out the thefts to declare themselves strikers forty-eight hours, at the latest, before the start of the conflict.
When questioned, the management of Air France refused, Wednesday, December 21, to communicate the rate of participation in the conflict. However, she pointed out that, “for the day of December 22, Air France will operate its entire flight schedule”. Clearly, the company should not cancel any flight and will route all its passengers to their destination. For their part, the two unions fear that the management will appeal “to cabin crew members on leave to replace the strikers”, deplores Gabriel Pons, spokesperson for the SNGAF. The union will show “very vigilant and will point out all violations of the right to strike”.
“Negotiations are continuing”
With the filing of this notice, the SNGAF and the UNAC intend to protest against the non-renewal of their collective agreement, which expired on October 31. This agreement, which governs the working conditions and remuneration of hostesses and stewards, has been replaced, for an indefinite period, by a “one-sided note” of management. However, the latter has undertaken in writing to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation not to make any changes until discussions with the unions have been completed. The SNGAF and the UNAC, which demanded that this “one-sided note” be fixed for “a fixed term”were refused by management.
For now, “negotiations are continuing”, says Air France. The management, which wishes to find productivity gains, would like in particular to increase the number of passengers per cabin crew member, which would increase from 48 to 50 on certain long-haul flights. A measure with limited effect, since it would only concern the ten Boeing 787 Dreamliners in the Air France fleet.
Within this category of personnel, it is said that the non-renewal of the collective agreement would only be a pretext for filing a strike notice. According to them, the real reason for the conflict would be the proximity of the professional elections, scheduled for March 2023. On this occasion, the SNGAF and the UNAC, which are said to be losing momentum, could lose their majority there in favor of the National Union of Commercial Flight Crew and the National Union of Autonomous Unions, both united as an inter-union and opposed to the strike. Moreover, this conflict would not be unanimous within the SNGAF. According to our information, four delegates from this union have given up their mandate and resigned in protest against this strike.