PARIS (Reuters) – the French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, has called Air France (AIRF.PA) to avoid compulsory redundancies, as the company prepares to cut thousands of jobs in response to the sars coronavirus crisis.
“Some adjustments will be necessary for Air France,” The Mayor said Thursday, following media reports that the company plans to eliminate 8,000 to 10,000 jobs. “What I ask of you Air France that there was no forced redundancies.”
A spokesman for the group Air France-KLM declined to comment.
Air France is in the process of preparing voluntary layoffs in response to the crisis, Chief Executive officer, Ben Smith, told Reuters on 7 May that it has announced a 20% reduction of structural capacity that potentially affects some 9,000 of their 45,000 jobs.
Competitors are moving fast to reduce the number of officials in the face of a deep global travel recession triggered by COVID-19 and bans resulting. Among them, British Airways (ICAG.The) is cutting 12,000 jobs and Ryanair (RYA.J’) at least 3 000, while Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) is seeking as many as 22 000 departures.
Smith, who has negotiated more flexible labour trafficking since its 2018 appointments such as Air France-KLM chief executive officer, must exercise caution to keep the peace with unions and the French government, which owns 15% of the airline group and has subscribed to up to 7 billion euros ($7.9 billion) rescue plan for Air France.
The government’s message has been clear from the outset that the redundancies must be voluntary, a source close to Air France management said to Reuters. “While you are in partnership with the government, and you have obtained loans from them, I think you’ve got to be very balanced in what you do.”
In response to the pandemic, Air France said it would accelerate the movement to expand its low-cost Transavia division and the reduction of its national network, which lost 200 million euros last year and is operated in part by its short-haul carrier Hop!
The restructuring plans are presented at a strategic workforce planning meeting scheduled for early July, according to union and company sources.
Reporting by Laurence Frost and Sudip Kar-Gupta; additional reporting by Leigh Thomas; editing by Jason Neely and Jane Merriman
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