Air France’s €7 billion government bailout has come in for criticism after the airline began talks over job cuts.
The carrier began discussing the prospect with personnel representatives on Friday, prompting protests by the far-left CGT union outside Air France’s headquarters at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport.
The airline is today expected to announce 7,500 job cuts, reports AFP.
It comes after the coronavirus pandemic grounded flights, causing airlines a massive headache to cover their high fixed costs.
The French state agreed on a financial support package with Air France-KLM in May, which included demands to improve profitability.
But there is anger the bailout has not prevented the prospect of job cuts.
“The state bailout funds are welcomed, but they must remain bailout funds and mustn’t contribute to destroying a bit more the company,” Guilhaume, 51-year-old Air France pilot, told Associated Press.
“The bailout funds must be used to rebuild Air France, as they must help rebuild other companies, big companies as well as small and medium-sized companies, liberal professions, the culture sector etc., everything that constitutes a nation in fact, a country. It mustn’t be used to increase unemployment and put people into poverty.”
For Greenpeace France, any job cuts would be the result of bad decisions by the French government.
“The government is today an accomplice of the choices made by the management of Air France,” said Sarah Fayolle, transport campaign manager at Greenpeace France.
“Supporting the company with 7 billion euros without requiring strong and restrictive conditions, both social and environmental, was an irresponsible decision.”