The European Commission is today offering to support 1,580 former Air France workers who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with €17.7 million from the European Adjustment Fund to globalization in favor of laid-off workers (FEM). This funding will help those affected to find a new job through tailored counseling and guidance services, to develop new skills or to set up their own business.
The Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights, Nicholas Schmitsaid about it: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on workers in the travel and airline industry. With financial support of €17.7 million from the European Globalization Adjustment Fund, we are showing solidarity with nearly 1,600 former Air France employees, helping them find their place in the market work. This EU support will help them retrain and find new jobs, or start their own business.”
France has requested aid under the EGF to support Air France workers made redundant following a drop in passengers and flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Support for redundant workers includes counselling, career guidance, job search assistance and the opportunity to learn new skills through tailored vocational training. Participants can also receive advice on how to start their own business and a start-up grant of up to EUR 15,000. Support measures also include hiring subsidies, differential compensation allowances and rapid/immediate redeployment allowances for workers.
The total cost of these measures is estimated at around €21 million, of which 85% (€17.7 million) will be covered by the EGF. Air France will finance the remaining 15%. Help for eligible workers began in February 2021, shortly after the first layoffs. The EGF may cover these costs retroactively once the funding has been approved by the European Parliament and the Council.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Air France to reduce its flights due to travel restrictions in place in many countries. Additionally, the pandemic has had a long-term impact on the airline industry. Increased environmental awareness and remote working can lead to long-term change in customer behavior. The resumption of air transport is therefore expected to be slow and uncertain. Thus, Air France does not expect to reach 95% of its pre-pandemic flight offer until 2023.
The Île-de-France region was the most affected by the layoffs at Air France: 57% of them took place on its territory. Despite recent improvements, the number of registered job seekers in Île-de-France remains high and the long-term unemployed represent nearly half of the total job seekers in the region. Therefore, the French authorities expect that the workers affected by the restructuring of Air France will need personalized support to find a new job.
As provided for in the new EGF Regulation for the period 2021-2027, the Fund continues to support redundant workers and self-employed workers who have lost their activity. Thanks to the new rules, EGF support becomes more easily accessible to those affected by restructuring: all categories of unforeseen large-scale restructuring, including the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis or megatrends (decarbonisation , automation, etc.), may warrant support. Member States have the right to request EU funding when at least 200 workers lose their jobs during a given reference period.
In March 2022, the European Parliament and the Council approved a Commission proposal to support 473 former workers at the vending machine company Selecta in France with €4 million under the EGF. This followed the approval in February of a Commission proposal for €3.7 million of EGF support for 297 Airbus workers made redundant in France due to the pandemic.
Since 2007, the EGF has been mobilized in 173 cases for a total amount of €668 million, helping more than 166,000 people in 20 Member States. The measures supported by the EGF complement the active labor market measures implemented at national level.
To know more
Commission proposal on EGF support for workers made redundant at Air France in France
GEF Fact Sheet
European Globalization Adjustment Fund website
EGF Regulations for the period 2021-2027
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