Air France's main pilots union on Sunday ended a 14-day strike that grounded almost half of the airline's flights, stranded passengers worldwide, and cost tens of millions of dollars.
The union had “decided to accept its responsibilities” and end a crippling two-week strike, although it stopped short of accepting management’s plans for expanding a low-cost subsidiary.
The union, which represents nearly three-quarters of the 3,800 Air France pilots, said it was ending its walkout in order to “pursue discussions under more serene conditions.”
The walkout, which began Sept. 15, was the longest ever initiated by pilots at Air France, which was created in 1933. Today, the company conducts about 1,500 flights each day, and last year had 77.3 million passengers, making it one of Europe's biggest carriers.
The pilots union said it didn't oppose those plans to build the new business, but rejected the labor conditions that management had planned. They started the strike two weeks ago out of concerns that management was looking for a way to outsource their jobs to countries with lower taxes and labor costs.
Air France, in its statement, "confirmed its decision to continue its accelerated development of Transavia in France, without delay" — which suggested that issues remain unresolved. The carrier said it is sticking to plans to create 1,000 jobs in France through Transavia carrier, including 250 pilot positions.
Speaking to reporters Sunday, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said: "This strike was misunderstood, it was corporatist. It was selfish."
Source: AP, New York Times