Air France workers reject fat cat bosses’ proposal

This video says about itself:

22 February 2018

Striking Air France employees scuffled with police when they marched to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport on Thursday, as they carried out a strike over pay conditions.

Around 50 protesters managed to pass police to enter and march inside one of the airport’s terminals.

Air France workers are striking to obtain a six percent raise in salaries.

By Alex Lantier in France today:

On Friday, it was announced that striking Air France workers had voted by 55 percent to reject the contract presented on April 16 by CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac … . Over 80 percent of the workers participated in the vote.

The proposed contract was an insult to the work force. Issued by Janaillac, it proposed only a seven percent wage increase over four years.

Meaning less than 2% a year; not enough to keep up with inflation.

Air France management gave itself double-digit wage increases of up to 67 percent last year after posting record profits of over 1 billion euros. The profit surge was accomplished by moving staff into low-cost subsidiary airlines to drastically cut overall wage levels. …

While pilots reportedly voted largely to approve the contract, flight attendants and maintenance staff appear to have voted massively against it. The company has 3,500 pilots, 13,000 flight staff and 32,000 ground crew workers. While skilled pilots make good salaries, a large majority of workers at the company are not highly paid. Average monthly pre-tax income for employees is only €2,981 for men and €2,066 for women. …

Janaillac reacted by immediately announcing his resignation. …

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire threatened the Air France workers, declaring that the state would not “mop up Air France’s debts” and arrogantly lecturing the workers that their wage demands were “unjustified.” …

The Air France workers’ courageous opposition to the contract is part of an international upsurge of working-class struggle against the demands of the financial aristocracy. …

In the US, a wave of teachers’ strikes and protests … has erupted in numerous states. As Air France workers were voting down the contract, teachers in Colorado were going on strike, together with tens of thousands of California university workers and Los Angeles school bus drivers. At the same time, teachers have taken strike action in other countries, from Britain to Sri Lanka.

In Europe, strikes have erupted since New Year’s Day among German automotive, metal and government workers; British railroad workers; Eastern European auto workers and Turkish metal workers.

In France, the working class is coming into political struggle against President Emmanuel Macron’s agenda of austerity and militarism. A rail strike is proceeding against Macron’s planned privatization of the national railway (SNCF), while health care and state workers go on strike and students blockade their universities. Macron is overseeing deep cuts to wages and social services in an attempt to free up €300 billion for a vast increase in military spending. At the same time, France is joining in the US-led war drive in the Middle East, bombing Syria and threatening Iran with war.

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