• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

French airline pilots call off month-long strike

Ben McPartland · 2 May 2014, 11:33

Published: 02 May 2014 11:33 GMT+02:00

The country’s leading pilots union (SNPL France Alpa) had angered the government and Air France chiefs by calling members to hold a strike between May 3rd and May 30th on several hours each day.

But on Friday union chiefs announced they had lifted the strike threat, just a day before pilots were due to walk out, after the government promised to take steps to allievate their grievances.

Unions called for the walk-out in protest over the rules surrounding their right to strike and the high amount of taxes that airlines have to pay in France.

They wanted a law changed that forces pilots to inform their companies that they intend to go on strike 48 hours before the walk-out, which is intended to allow airlines to get information to those affected passengers in advance.

But for unions that law undermines the impact of their industrial action and their basic right to strike because it allows airlines to draft in pilots from other countries.

This effectively means that although many pilots will strike, the impact on flights can be minimal, as they can simply be replaced. A recent EasyJet strike did not result in any flight delays or cancellations despite the fact that 85 percent of pilots walked-out, according to the union.

France's transport secretary Frédéric Culliver promised to meet with airline bosses in the coming weeks to try to resolve this issue. Culliver also said he would set up a working group to look into the amount of taxes paid by airlines.

"The government recognised for the first time that these practices were not acceptable," Deshayes told reporters, adding the government had made "a strong commitment" on looking to modify the law, although "no guarantees" had been given to the union.

Relief for Air France

Angry Air France chiefs had said the strike could threaten the recovery of the airline, as estimates emerged suggesting Air Fance may have to cancel around half of its long haul flights.

Air France CEO Frédéric Gagey sent an open letter to the president of the union in an attempt to make him change his mind.

The strike "comes at a crucial time in Air France's recovery", said Gagey, who added that the company is expecting to make a profit this year after six consecutive years of losses.

"It's incomprehensible that this action, which has nothing to do with Air France, should stop this momentum," Gagey added.

The industrial action would have consisted of work stoppages at set times throughout each day when pilots would lay down their controls, to prevent companies from flying in foreign replacements.

Thankfully for anyone due to take a plane in France over the next month, the situation appears to have been resolved. For the time being at least.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
It's official: France finally gets its new map
Photo: AFP

So, how well do you know the new map?

Sexism at the wheel: France wants more women drivers
Photo: State Farm/Flickr

Because the men are causing all the accidents.

VIDEOS: France's raunchiest TV commercials of all time
Photo: Gifi

Two sexually-charged adverts have got people hot under the collar in France, a little strange perhaps given the history of the French for making raunchy adverts. Take a look back through time at these famously steamy ads.

Why are foreign students in France 'Europe's unhappiest'?
Students at a university in Normandy. Photo: AFP

... for the fourth year in a row.

Education in France
The troubles with French universities laid bare
Students in Lyon. Photo: AFP

Classrooms overflowing, a serious lack of funding, and a flailing reputation abroad... what exactly is wrong with France's university system? The Local's Oliver Gee takes a closer look.

Studying in France
How to survive Paris on a student budget
Are you a student in Paris? Here's how to save some money. Photo: AFP

With students from all over the world descending on Paris for the start of a new term, we take a look at the best ways to save money while living in the French capital on a shoestring.

Where in France has the cleanest and dirtiest air?
Photo: AFP

No, Paris doesn't have the dirtiest.

Court could give 'depressed' French nation right to smile
Photo: Jens Bergander/Flickr

"Is it really responsible, in a depressed France, that the authorities forbid the French from smiling... (on their ID photos)"

Is Hollande's last budget target really credible?
Photo: AFP

The president says the budget is "serious" but many would disagree.

China turns to Brittany cows to feed its babies
Photo: AFP

Far east giant provides a boost for Brittany's beleaguered dairy farmers.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Education
The troubles with French universities laid bare
Culture
The crazy French writing phrases you can't get your head around
Features
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Society
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Lifestyle
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Education
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
Society
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Society
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
2,728
jobs available