Transform 2015 to be tested by new Air France labour agreements

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Air France-KLM's Transform 2012 restructuring plan will face a major challenge next week when Air France presents new collective labour agreements to its unions.

The SkyTeam carrier is currently in negotiation over new terms and has held a number of consultative meetings with unions to canvass opinions on its plans and will deliver definitive agreements by the end of next week.

A source at the French pilots' union Syndicat National des Pilotes de Ligne, says it is likely to let its members decide whether to accept the new agreements. In such a scenario a referendum would take around three weeks to complete and as such it is unlikely any decision will be made on a new pilots' agreement until the end of July.

With the existing labour agreement for cabin crew not due to expire until 2013, the Personnel Navigant Commercial union may decide to see out the current deal before agreeing new terms. However Air France has warned if this happens any offer made in 2013 will not necessarily be as generous as this year. Air France chief executive Alexandre de Juniac has also stated no staff redundancies will be imposed during 2012 or 2013, but only on the condition the airline's unions accept new collective labour agreements.Hoping to improve its economic efficiency by 20%, Air France is understood to be seeking changes to staff duty rosters. It wants them to resemble those of the pilots and crew operating flights from its regional bases, who work more hours over fewer days.

The measures represent part of the airline's contribution to Transform 2015, an effort by its parent Air France-KLM group to reduce €2 billion ($2.53 billion) from its net debt of around €6.5 billion over three years.