Air France pilot unions call for strike during Euro 2016

PARIS (Reuters) - Air France's pilot unions have called on members to strike during the first week of the Euro 2016 soccer championship in a protest over pay. The unions said in a joint statement they planned to strike from June 11 until June 14 and might schedule further strikes a few days later if necessary. The soccer tournament begins in Paris on June 10 and will run until July 10. The strike call was by unions Syndicat National des Pilotes de Ligne (SNPL), which represents more than half of the airline's pilots, and SPAF, which represents about a quarter. Air France said in a statement the four-day strike came as the airline was returning to profit after eight years of losses and that it jeopardized the future of the company. "Air France is still fragile, we need the commitment of all staff to ensure the company's growth," it said. The strike call comes after weeks of nationwide protests against a planned labor law reform, which have blocked refineries, led to fuel shortages and disrupted train schedules. An Air France spokesman said it was to soon to estimate the impact of the strike on the airline's accounts. The airline lost more than 400 million euros in September 2014 during a 15-day pilots' strike against a plan to develop its low-cost unit Transavia. A unit of Air France-KLM, owned 17.6 percent by the French state, Air France said it would invite the unions to discuss ways of ending the strike. (Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by James Regan and Andrew Roche)