Air France has announced that it is to appoint a new Finance Director – Frederic Gagey, who it hopes will improve relations with trade unions and thus hopefully put an end to costly and long strikes, which in turn cause flight delays and cancellation for the thousands of people who fly on the French carrier every year.
Earlier this year Mr Gagey was involved involved in a tense meeting with staff concerning the matter of job cuts, where it is reported, Mr Gagey was forced to flee from the meeting, after things became violent. Air France has been struggling for several months and the company has reported poor turnover figures, as it faces difficulties with high costs and pressure from gulf airlines.
Air France has a notoriously bad history of trouble with it’s unions, as reported by financialtimes.co.uk
Attempts by successive chief executives to cut expenses at Air France and develop a budget airline unit have been held back by a long-running battle with the main SNPL pilots’ union. In 2014 a two-week pilots’ strike cost the company €500m.
Last year, after a tense employee meeting over 2,900 job cuts at Air France, the human resources director was descended on by an angry mob who tore off his shirt and forced him to flee half-naked over a fence.
Alexandre de Juniac, the former chief executive of Air France-KLM, said in April before he left his post that Air France risked being relegated to a “second-tior” airline if it did not get to grips with its pilots’ unions.
Since succeeding Mr de Juniac, Mr Janaillac has signalled that he wants to take a more conciliatory approach with the unions, while also pushing ahead with the company’s Perform 2020 programme to improve Air France’s competitiveness.
However, the wave of cost-cutting at the airline, may be beginning to bear some fruit, as Air France reported a net loss of €114m for the first half of 2016. This amount was much less than the €638m loss it recorded during the same period last year.