• France's news in English

Air Algerie strike leaves thousands stranded

AFP · 14 Jul 2011, 09:36

Published: 14 Jul 2011 10:41 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 Jul 2011 09:36 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A strike by Air Algerie cabin crew who want a 106-percent pay rise left thousands of angry travellers stranded in Paris, Marseille and Nice airports on Wednesday, France's transport minister said.

The strike began on Monday and has led to the cancellation of dozens of the ailing state-run airline's scheduled flights at a time when many French residents of north African origin make their annual trip to see relatives.

French Transport Minister Thierry Mariani on Wednesday summoned representatives from the airline, from the Algerian embassy and airport officials to try and find alternative ways of getting the travellers to their destinations.

The union representing the cabin crew said meanwhile that talks with airline bosses to resolve the dispute had ground to a halt.

"The negotiations have stalled. There has been no contact between thosestriking and the management since the day before the industrial action was launched," said union president Yacine Hamamouche.

Hamamouche said a deal was close to being agreed before the strike but it collapsed at the last minute "and we still don't know the reason".

Hundreds of the passengers had slept overnight in Orly airport in Paris and in Marseille and Nice airports.

They had ignored Air Algerie's request that passengers not show up at airports because of the strike, and on Wednesday reacted furiously when airline representatives, guarded by riot police, occasionally appeared.

Many passengers at Orly screamed "Liars! Thieves!" when one airline official explained that Air Algerie was doing its best to charter planes to get its passengers to their destinations in the former French territory.

"I paid €600 for a ticket. It's disgraceful. Air Algerie is finished!" said Leila Boubekeur, as she sat on a camp bed provided by airport officials.

Algerian state radio on Tuesday quoted the airline's chief, Mohamed Salah Boultif, as saying that Air Algerie, given its poor financial health, was in no position to grant the 106-percent pay hike sought by the strikers.

Story continues below…

Boultif however pledged to agree to a 20-percent pay rise for all airline employees.

Air Algerie employs about 9,000 staff and flies to more than 70 destinations.

In February it announced a $700 million (€495 million) investment to increase its number of carriers from 42.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Homeless man dines at top tables in France, then runs off
Photo: Prayitno/Flickr

"A man's gotta eat," he told police, after racking up gigantic bills in some of France's plushest restaurants.

Underwater museum hopes to make a splash in Marseille
A similar underwater museum piece by Jason deCaires Taylor. Photo: julie rohloff/Flickr

Don't forget your scuba gear...

Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Photo: Jacme/Flickr

Move over Paris...

And France's top chef of the year is... 'Monsieur Idiot'
Alexandre Couillon might have an unfortunate name, but he can sure cook!. Photo: AFP

Look beyond the name. He's the man who turned his family's humble "moules frites" joint into one of France's best seafood restaurants.

Could France do more to ease the worries of 'Brexpats'?
Photo: AFP

Paris is rolling out the red tape for British firms, so why not British citizens in France?

Brexit: Brits in France could face 'cataclysmic' impact
Photo: AFP

Can't France make it easier for Britons to get French nationality?

In their own words: Why French police are in revolt
"Solidarity with our colleagues". Police protesting near Paris. Photo: AFP

Police have staged protests for three nights in a row across France. Here's why they say they're fed up.

France leaning right six months before election
Candidates for the right-wing Les Republicains Alain Juppe and Nicolas Sarkozy. Photo: AFP

... and the left has been left in suspended animation.

Disgruntled French police stage protests for third night
Photo: AFP

The French government is struggling to deal with a revolt among the country's police force.

Scarlett Johansson to run Paris gourmet popcorn shop
Photo: AFP

She'll even be serving customers apparently.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
Want to drive a scooter around Paris? Here's what you need to know
jobs available