PARIS, September 23 (RIA Novosti) – A strike by Air France pilots has no foundation and poses a real threat to the company, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Tuesday in an interview with Europe1 radio during an official visit to Berlin.
"This strike has no reason, it is not understood by the French. It undermines the image of France and represents a real danger for Air France," Valls said.
For the first time since the beginning of the strike, Air France pilots will hold a protest rally in Paris, to be held on Tuesday. According to 20minutes.fr, trade unions called on the pilots to show up for the rally in their uniforms at 2 p.m. local time (12:00 GMT).
On Monday, Air France said that the ongoing strike could cost the company up to 20 million euros ($26 million) a day.
It was expected that the week-long strike over Air France's plans to expand the low-cost operations of its Transavia brand by setting up foreign bases would be finished by Sunday, but SNPL, the main French pilots union, voted to continue the strike until September 26.
Currently there are more than 3,700 pilots working for Air France, which exceeds the needs of the company. The company plans to send a large number of the pilots to Air France's affiliated company Hop! and Transavia, a Netherlands-based low-cost airline operating as an independent part of the Air France-KLM Group. Employees have agreed to the transfer, but claim that their social welfare benefits, salaries and status should remain unchanged. Pilots are also protesting against the reduction of staff.