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Air France corrects course on job cut plan, unions say

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Air France on Friday presented unions with a new development plan, revising a restructuring project that had prompted violent demonstrations and physical attacks on company managers.

[PARIS] Air France on Friday presented unions with a new development plan, revising a restructuring project that had prompted violent demonstrations and physical attacks on company managers.

The new blueprint calls for two aircraft to be added to the carrier's long-haul services per year between 2017 and 2020, and possible job creations, subject to an agreement on productivity, unions said after a meeting in which management submitted the proposals.

If approved, the project will replace the second stage of the so-called "Plan B" austerity programme, which had called for the withdrawal of nine planes from the company's fleet, reduced flight schedules and 2,000 job cuts.

Management will, however, implement thousands of job cuts in 2016 as part of the first phase of "Plan B", union representatives said.

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Any future job creations would concern navigators and pilots, Mehdi Kemoune, a representative for the CGT union, told AFP.

There would also be no forced job cuts for economic reasons for ground staff until mid-2018, he said, so long as staff accepted redeployment requests.

Unions gave the new plan a mixed reception, their representatives said.

The new approach is a departure from a restructuring project presented last year that led to chaotic scenes in October when two of Air France's executives had their shirts ripped off by angry staff.

In pictures carried by media across the world, human resources chief Xavier Broseta, naked from the waist up, had to scale a fence after he was pursued from a meeting about the proposals.

Another executive, Pierre Plissonnier, also had his shirt and jacket torn.

The violent protests took place at Air France's headquarters on the outskirts of Paris on October 5 as management announced a plan to cut 2,900 jobs.

In November, Air France sacked four employees and started dismissal proceedings against a union representative over the violent scenes.

The incident highlighted rising tensions at France's national flag carrier as the airline, facing intense competition from global rivals, seeks to persuade its pilots to adopt more flexible working practices.

AFP

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