"We demanded a 6-percent [wage increase] — they offered 1 percent. We brought it down to 5 percent, they offered 2 percent. If we continued negotiating, we would have ended up with an agreement. But the direction of Air France made an ultimatum: 2 percent take it or leave, too bad for you if you do not take it. That’s called an ultimatum… What does put Air France in danger is that its leadership refuses to negotiate," Aplincourt indicated.
The SPAF president believed that there would have been no staff strikes at all if the airline's management had taken their employees' demands more seriously.
"If we negotiate we’ll find a compromise. I cannot say if it’s 3 percent or 3.5 percent, but if the direction of Air France had made a little bit more serious offer they would have seen no strikes, without even giving the 6-percent raise," he explained.
Aplincourt called for the resumption of negotiations, adding that the staff strikes would go on as long unless the government stopped its ultimatums.
"We have to start over, we will ask Air France to restart the negotiations … We did not fight to be stopping now, that’s for sure. How long the strikes would last depends on the management … It has to prove [that it is] capable to engage in serious discussions," he summarized.
Speaking about Janaillac, Aplincourt said that his resignation happened as a result of the CEO putting the possibility of him stepping down on the table with the mindset that the workers would accept the company's wage proposal for fear of him and without considering how far the strikers were willing to go to have their demands met.
"He [pledged to resign] because he was sure [that] people would vote for the proposal being afraid of seeing him quit. But that is called an analytical error," Aplincourt explained.
On Friday, Air France's employees again rejected the management’s salary proposal. Air France-KLM group CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac, who promised to step down if the staff did not accept the company's wage proposal, announced his resignation that same day.
Air France employees have long been demanding a pay raise of 6 percent as inflation compensation. On Friday, Air France's employees rejected the management’s proposal, which consisted of a 2-percent salary raise in 2018 and another 5-percent increase over next two years.