By: Steve Dellar | 05-07-2018 | News
Photo credit: Nicholas Burningham |

France - Finance Minister ‘Refuses To Bail Out Air France’ If Bankrupt Through Continued Strikes

The agonizing drumbeat continues as with the breaking of another day, another strike in France goes on without any sign of a solution on the horizon. The national railway is set for two more months of strikes and people discover other means of transport to get to work. Some sort of habit is setting in there.

But for the national airline ‘Air France’, troubling signs are mounting. Now about to enter its 14th day of strikes on Monday, the workers press for a 5.1% pay increase this year.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Future of Air France &#39;in doubt&#39; after boss quits amid strike action <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Guardian news (@guardiannews) <a href="">May 6, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Last week, Air France’s CEO Mr Jean-Marc Janaillac announced his resignation after workers rejected a proposed pay deal worth 7% over four years. The unions said they wanted 5% this year, not 7% spread over four years. But with the CEO gone and losses mounting, the French government, which holds 15% of the shares of its national airline, decided to step in and sound the alarm.

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French Finance Minister Mr Bruno Le Maire appeared on national television yesterday warning the strikers that the state should not be counted upon to come to the rescue the airline if things go wrong. Mr Le Maire: “Air France will disappear if it does not make the necessary efforts to be competitive. We’re minority shareholders … those that think that whatever happens the state will come to Air France’s rescue and soak up Air France’s losses are mistaken.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">French state not there to backstop Air France losses: minister <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Reuters Business (@ReutersBiz) <a href="">May 6, 2018</a></blockquote>

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“I call on everyone to be responsible: crew, ground staff, and pilots who are asking for unjustified pay hikes. Be responsible. The survival of Air France is in the balance.”

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Many international travellers in France are discovering other carriers in the meantime, as Air France not only sees losses mounting, but also its frequent travellers head off to the competition. With both the government and the unions unwilling to move an inch, many in France are left to wonder whether their airline will survive.

The airline released a statement to apologize for the latest round of strikes: “Air France deplores the decision to go ahead with the strikes as we enter a period that will not enable negotiations to continue in order to put an end to it.”


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