A strike by aviation workers was set to intensify on Tuesday with Air France saying it might fly only half of its long-haul flights.

"/> A strike by aviation workers was set to intensify on Tuesday with Air France saying it might fly only half of its long-haul flights.

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AIR FRANCE

Half of Air France flights hit on 2nd day of strike

A strike by aviation workers was set to intensify on Tuesday with Air France saying it might fly only half of its long-haul flights.

Half of Air France flights hit on 2nd day of strike

Flight disruptions were limited on Monday, the first day of a four-day action against restrictions on the right to strike, but there were a number of last-minute cancellations and delays.

At Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, officials said airlines had preventively cancelled 10 percent of flights scheduled for Monday.

An AFP reporter at Charles de Gaulle, a global aviation hub, said a number of flights were also cancelled at the last minute, including Air France flights to Geneva, Hamburg, Naples, Istanbul and Rio.

Budget airline easyJet also cancelled five morning departures.

The leading French carrier said it managed to fly 85 percent of its long-haul flights and 75 percent of short- and medium-haul flights on Monday.

“As staff are not obliged to inform in advance of their intention to strike, and to limit disruption caused by last-minute cancellations, on February 7th Air France expects to operate over 50 percent of long-haul flights,” it said in a statement.

It added that it expected to fly 70 percent of short and medium-haul flights on Tuesday, including those operated by its regional subsidiaries.

Air France urged customers to postpone their travel to after the strike finishes, and sent out more than 25,000 emails and mobile phone text messages to clients warning them their flight had been cancelled or delayed.

Regional airports were also hit by delays and cancelations.

Aviation workers including pilots, flight attendants and ground staff voted on Friday to launch a nationwide strike from February 6th to February 9th.

The unions are protesting a draft law that will require aviation workers to individually give 48 hours notice prior to striking, saying this limits labour rights.

The bill was approved by France’s lower house last month and is being debated in the Senate.

Labour leaders vowed the strike would pick up steam, with Yves Deshayes, the head of the SNPL pilots’ union, saying “the mobilisation will reach a crescendo” in the coming days.

The union said half of Air France pilots were on strike.

The airline did not provide information on the percentage of employees participating in the strike.

Hundreds of activists rallied in support of the strike at Charles de Gaulle and Orly on Monday.

Transport Minister Thierry Mariani said the government would not go back on the bill, which he said was aimed at protecting “passengers’ rights”.

“We will go all the way. This is necessary and that is something the French people understand,” he said on RTL radio.

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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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