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Labor union calls strike on Air France

French carrier Air France will face major disruptions of services, as the powerful CGT labor union has called on the airline's ground staff to walk out at the end of October. The strike aims to stop a cost-cutting plan.

The industrial action was planned to start on October 26, and would hit Air France passengers right at the beginning of a two-week school holiday, senior CGT labor union representative David Ricatte said Wednesday.

CGT represents a majority of Air France's 32,000 ground staff, and contrary to other labor unions at the airline has refused to sign a restructuring program dubbed Transform 2015.

Under the cost-cutting plan, the French carrier seeks to save 2 billion euros ($2.61 billion) over the next three years, as well as increase productivity by 20 percent.

Noting that it was time to "raise alarm" over the plan, Ricatte said the effort would fall short of reaching its goals.

"Air France employees are the only ones held responsible for the airline's troubles," Ricatte added, referring to a management plan aimed at cutting more than 5,000 jobs through voluntary departures by 2014.

Air France said earlier it would consider laying off the excess staff, if negotiations with labor unions on voluntary agreements failed.

The airline, which is locked in an alliance with Dutch carrier KLM, posted a loss of 809 million euros in 2011 and a shortfall of 368 million euros in the first quarter of 2012.

uhe/jr (AFP, dpa)

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