After a year when air passengers were hit by strikes on each major holiday, the government is supporting new legislation on Tuesday to tighten up rules to lessen the chaos.

"/> After a year when air passengers were hit by strikes on each major holiday, the government is supporting new legislation on Tuesday to tighten up rules to lessen the chaos.

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Government moves to cut air travel strikes

After a year when air passengers were hit by strikes on each major holiday, the government is supporting new legislation on Tuesday to tighten up rules to lessen the chaos.

Government moves to cut air travel strikes
Mathieu Marquer

The new rules propose that any worker planning to strike has to inform his or her employers at least 48 hours beforehand. This will give airlines and airports the chance to make alternative arrangements.

Airlines will also be compelled to inform passengers, individually, of any changes to their proposed flights.

The legislation is being introduced by a member of parliament from the governing UMP party, Eric Diard, and has the full backing of the transport minister Thierry Mariani, reported Le Parisien newspaper.

It will be discussed on Tuesday in the country’s lower house, the National Assembly, before moving to the Senate in February.

In 2011, airport security staff took industrial action across the Christmas holiday, causing serious disruption at some of the country’s airports, particularly Lyon.

Action was also taken around the busy All Saints’ holiday at the start of November.

A four day strike in July by Air France cabin crew was called off at the last minute.

The legislation follows successful rules introduced in 2008 on the country’s train and metro networks, which forced a minimum service level during strike periods. Known as the “service minimum”, passengers are guaranteed that there will be at least 20 percent of trains operating even on strike days.

Le Parisien reported that the announcement of the proposed rules themselves provoked calls for industrial action. Pilots have announced they plan to strike in protest from February 4th to 9th.

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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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