After Ryanair, Air France KLM is the second company to be facing the prospect of a Europe-wide strike.
Air France shares slumped by just under 6% on Monday, cumulating to approximately 40% since the beginning of the year.
Pilots are demanding pay rises and the SNPL union threatens with 15 days of strikes amidst peak tourist season. Separate talks with the Dutch pilots union VNV are also reportedly in “a difficult phase,” according to De Telegraf.
Pilots and cabin crew have not seen a pay rise since 2012.
The company has been without a CEO since May when the former CEO Philippe Evain failed to reach a compromise with the unions. Media speculate that his favoured successor is Benjamin Smith, the deputy head of Air Canada. Smith has a reputation for putting shareholders’ interests first and is expected to take a combative stand on industrial disputes, according to Le Parisien.
The Air France-KLM main shareholders are the French state (14,4%), Delta Airlines (14%) and China Eastern Arilines (8.8%).
In May the French prime minister Bruno Le Maire had warned that the future of the company “hanged in the balance,” calling on workers to be “responsible” and making clear that the government would not be willing to cover the company’s deficit indefinitely.