Air France CEO Resigns After Months of Employee Strikes

May 4, 2018

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Update 5/5/2018: Air France staff unions are striking again May 7-8. As of Saturday, the airline notes “it is now too early to evaluate the possible impacts” of the strike. The airline expects to update its flight schedule and make the changes “public the day before your departure.”

Air France-KLM Chairman and CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac announced Friday he would be resigning from the helm of the airline group, after yet another failed attempt to negotiate with striking employees.

The strikes over staff wage increases have dragged on for months and have cost the airline about 300 million euro (roughly $359 million) in lost revenue. The staff walkouts, which took place in periodic spurts since early February and have totaled 13 days so far, continually snarled the carrier’s operations in Europe and frustrated travelers.

In an attempt to end the staff demonstrations, Janaillac proposed a 7% wage increase over four years, starting with a 2% increase in 2018. The proposal went up for an electronic vote by Air France employees between April 26 and May 4.

Janaillac previously said that if this round of negotiations failed, he would resign as the airline group’s top executive. “I cannot see how I could stay at the head of the company,” he said at a press conference in late April.

The results of the employees’ votes were revealed Friday, with 55.44% of the staff rejecting the proposed wage increase. (About 80% of Air France employees participated in the poll). Since the beginning of the demonstrations, workers have demanded a 6% pay increase in 2018.

For his part, Janaillac’s salary in 2017 was about 1.1 million euro, about 510,000 of which was a “variable compensation” based on his performance, according to Air France-KLM financial filings. His predecessor, Alexandre de Juniac, made just more than 1 million euro, 462,000 of which was a variable compensation in 2015.

Janaillac is expected to formally submit his resignation to the Air France-KLM board during a meeting on May 9.

Featured image by GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images.

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