Female cabin crew of Air France, backed by the French carrier’s union, have strongly objected to a management decision to wear pants, loose-fitting jackets and headscarves during flights to Iran.
According to reports, staff of the airline have threatened to go on strike over the issue which they see as an infringement on individual freedom.
Air France flights to Iran’s capital Tehran are to begin soon.
Union groups have strongly condemned the new dress code and said cabin crew will refuse to fly when flights resume to Tehran on April 17.
French radio station RFI quoted union leader Françoise Redolfi, as saying, “We have to let the girls choose what they want to wear. Those that don’t want to must be able to say they don’t want to work on those flights.”
Redolfi further revealed that female cabin crew have told her that it is out of the question to wear headscarves, as they see it as an insult to their dignity.
The French minister for women’s rights and families, Laurence Rossignol, has been informed of the Air France staff dress code protest.
Iranian women have been instructed to cover their heads since the Islamic revolution in 1979, while in France, headscarves have been banned in schools and state offices and full-face veils are banned in public areas.
In a statement, Air France said: “Iranian law requires the wearing of a veil covering the hair in public places for all women present on its territory. This obligation is not required during the flight and is respected by all international airlines serving the Iranian Republic.”
The airline will begin three daily fights between Paris and Tehran on April 17, eight years after the flights were suspended in light of crippling international sanctions against Tehran.
Those sanctions were lifted in January after Iran agreed to shrink its nuclear programme.