STAFF AT British Airways' French subsidiaries TAT and Air Liberté are threatening further strike action following stoppages over pay and working conditions on 9/10 April. The action follows strikes at Air France over the merger of its domestic operations with the Air France Europe/Air Inter subsidiary.

Unions claim that Marc Rochet, who heads the BA French grouping, is forcing TAT pilots and hostesses to accept the lower pay scales applying to Air Liberté, which is recovering from bankruptcy following its take-over by BA at the end of 1996.

Pilots have labelled as "criminal" the planned new wage levels, which they claim are "-more appropriate to those applied to charter carriers". They have requested talks with Rochet, threatening a "second and, if necessary, a third strike" if their demands are not met.

BA has struggled to turn around persistent losses at TAT, and Rochet says that he intends to cut costs by one-quarter of what they are now by the end of 1997. He says that he is looking for a further 15% cut in the salaries of TAT staff to follow the 15% already agreed.

"That is about the same as that being demanded of Air France pilots and navigators," he says. At Air Liberté, which Rochet has said he wants to merge with TAT"-when the financial situation allows", the problems centre more on working conditions.

Air Liberté lost around Fr1 billion ($181 million) in 1996, while TAT lost Fr200 million. Rochet says that he intends to cut losses totally "within two years", but adds that it will be "impossible" to do so if costs cannot be controlled.

Source: Flight International