A pilot strike at CMA CGM Air Cargo

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The section CMA-CGM of the National Union of Airline Pilots (SNPL CCAC) filed a renewable strike notice from July 4 to 7, believing that the management of the cargo company is playing “deafness” in the face of its demands for social dialogue.

A subsidiary of the logistics giant CMA CGM and now a shareholder of Air France-KLM, the freight airline had launched its commercial flights in March 2021. It currently has in its base at the airport of Paris CDG five long-haul aircraft (four Airbus A330F including one operated by Air Belgium, and two Boeing 777F) – pending the four A350Fs expected from 2025. It employs just over 120 employees, according to the union. Since July 4, CCAC pilots have therefore been called upon to stop work; “the duration of this social movement will be in the hands of the company and will depend on the proposals it makes to its pilots”.

CMA CGM Air Cargo had recruited its first pilots in September 2021, in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, recalls the SNPL in a press release. “At that time, a very large number of very experienced pilots were on the job market due to the many brutal staff reductions all over the world, since the aviation sector was almost at a standstill. As a reminder, many pilots were deprived of employment and remuneration overnight”.

“Thanks to these complicated circumstances”, the pilot’s union affirms that the management of the airline company was able to put in place for its personnel “rules of employment and remuneration far below what was practiced in competing airlines . The pilots had agreed to sign on these conditions, because the company had promised them a very rapid improvement in these conditions”.

Today, the air transport situation has now changed, with a “strong and very rapid” resumption of activity in air transport, on a global level. The situation of pilot job market has therefore been “reversed”. In addition, the first year of operation of CCAC is according to the SNPL “largely profitable”, but “the promises of improvement of the working conditions of the pilots, made by the management, are not kept”.

“Given that the sector is doing better and better, none of the economic arguments, negative according to the management, can explain such working conditions. Indeed, everywhere the conditions of employment and remuneration of the pilots are improving, except at CCAC where the remuneration and the working conditions of the flight crew remain much lower than those practiced in France and elsewhere in Europe”. This refusal by management to improve working conditions is unacceptable for CCAC pilots.

For several months, the SNPL has been asking management to “ reassess the salaries and working conditions of its pilots, to align them with those of equivalent European long-haul companies. The only answers (and to drag things out) are management’s proposal of a completely unacceptable schedule of “negotiations”, and the granting of small measures, decided unilaterally and clearly insufficient with regard to the legitimate expectations and demands of the pilots”. Despite the many warning messages from the SNPL, the management does not seem to grasp the urgency of the situation and remains deaf to the requests.

These working conditions lead a large number of CCAC pilots to want to leave the company “for brighter skies”. In addition, this lack of attractiveness risks preventing the company from recruiting pilots in sufficient numbers. The company’s growth and sustainability depend on it. After these months of patience and faced with the deafness of the management, the SNPL decided to file a strike notice from July 4 to 7, notice which may be renewed. The CCAC pilots are mobilized in order to finally obtain fair and loyal working conditions!

John Walker Avatar