Following a company-wide staff vote in which employees directly rejected a multi-year pay agreement, Air France KLM chairman and CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac has announced he will resign.
Air France has been under pressure to end industrial action that has resulted in 14 days of strikes and an estimated £264 million loss.
Janaillac made the decision to let staff vote on a proposed 7 per cent wage increase over four years after failing to negotiate an agreement with the unions. However, of the 80.33 per cent of employees who participated, 55.44 per cent said “no”.
As a result, the airline says the pay deal is no longer valid.
Janaillac will call the Air France KLM and Air France boards of directors for a meeting on 9 May, during which he will tender his resignation.
Air France CEO Franck Terner will oversee the day-to-day operations of the company following Janaillac’s departure.
According to Reuters, shares in the airline fell by more than 10 per cent following Janaillac’s announcement, while the French government – Air France’s largest stakeholder – has said it will not offer a bailout if the company lands itself in financial difficulties as a result of strike action.
The French unions claim Air France is not taking the talks seriously.
This is the second time in two years that an Air France boss has stepped down in relation to staff unrest, with former CEO Frederic Gagey moved into a different role in 2016 in a bid to improve relations with trade unions.