French unions agreed a deal on Monday which should end an 11-day strike by airport security staff that stretched over the busy Christmas holiday but had little or no effect on traffic.

"/> French unions agreed a deal on Monday which should end an 11-day strike by airport security staff that stretched over the busy Christmas holiday but had little or no effect on traffic.

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Unions agree to end airport security strike

French unions agreed a deal on Monday which should end an 11-day strike by airport security staff that stretched over the busy Christmas holiday but had little or no effect on traffic.

The deal in itself does not end the walkout – striking union members will have to be consulted and vote – but there were signs the movement was losing steam and employers said they expected a settlement within a few days.

 

Leaders from the FO, CFTC, CFDT and Unsa unions said employers had agreed to pay an annual bonus to staff to appease their wage demands and that many of the workers themselves wanted the conflict to come to an end.

“After consulting our members, we see these proposals as better than nothing,” said Thierry Fressart of the CFDT’s service sector wing.

The CGT union did not sign the accord, but said it would consult members. The strikers had demanded €200 ($160) per month pay rises.

President Nicolas Sarkozy had ordered police to the airports to replace striking workers and avoid delays, and air traffic remained normal in Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and Lyon Saint-Exupery.

An association representing airports which employ security staff welcomed the union’s decision, and said agents would receive a €1,000 annual bonus, while negotiations on working conditions would start next month.

Workers had earlier met and voted to continue the strike through Monday, and were expected to meet again on Tuesday to decide whether to back the deal agreed by some of their unions or whether to carry on. 

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STRIKES

French customs officers strike over job cuts

Customs officers across France will walk out on Thursday in protest at job cuts that unions say will “weaken the customs network”.

French customs officers strike over job cuts

The national strike on Thursday, March 10th is expected to lead to delays at ports, airports and on the Eurostar.

The strike, which will include a rally outside the National Assembly building in Paris, was called by the CFDT-Douane and has the support of other unions. 

A work-to-rule protest over pay and conditions by customs officers in 2019, under the shadow of Brexit, led to delays and disruption at airports, as well as ports including Calais and Dunkirk, and on Eurostar trains.

Unions are calling on the government to axe plans to switch responsibility for import duty collection to the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques by 2024, at the cost of 700 customs’ officer jobs – and, according to strikers, tens of billions of euros to State coffers.

“We are asking for the reforms to be stopped, mainly that of the transfer of taxation, which is disorganising the network with the elimination of nearly a thousand jobs,” CFDT-Douane’s secretary general David-Olivier Caron said.

The planned job cuts come after years of restructuring and streamlining that has seen thousands of positions disappear, the unions say, when customs fraud and smuggling is rising because of a lack of resources.

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