EasyJet pilots in France to go on strike

EasyJet pilots in France are to take strike action on Monday after accusing the airline of failing to share record profits with its staff.

A spokesman for easyJet, which is Europe's second largest budget carrier after Ryanair and operates from 12 French airports, said it did not plan to cancel flights but warned that customers could suffer delays as a result of action by the SNPL union, which counts 90% of easyJet pilots among its members.

"The management of easyJet announced record profits at the beginning of the week, and the markets are cheering this performance," the SNPL said in a statement. "The situation is very different internally, where management has not recognised the contributions made by staff, and especially the airline's pilots, for many years."

The company last week announced a 51% increase in annual pretax profit, and rewarded shareholders with a £175m special dividend. This will be in addition to the airline's ordinary dividend of £133m, which is based on its policy of paying out one third of annual profit after tax.

The company's chief executive, Carolyn McCall, attributed the group's bumper year in part to the decision to introduce allocated seating on flights.

The SNPL has criticised the airline for having no profit sharing agreement and no company share plan, and says it wants improved working conditions.

Didier Bourguignon, an easyJet representative at SNPL, said: "The negotiations we had initiated with management have failed. They are deaf to our claims."

Investors are reaping the benefits of a doubling in the company's stockmarket value over the last year. When McCall took over in 2010, easyJet shares were worth £4, but now stand at over £14, having reached new highs after last week's dividend announcement.

Andrew McConnell, a spokesman for easyJet, said a small number of its 300 French pilots had notified the company they would be joining the strike. "EasyJet expects to operate its full flying programme in France on Monday," he said. "The airline does not expect to cancel any of its flights however, there may be some delays,"

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Juliette Garside, for The Guardian on Sunday 24th November 2013 18.29 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


image: © Brian Sims

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