Air France strike set to hit holidaymakers

Air France flights to and from France are set to be severely disrupted on Saturday after several unions called on workers to go on strike. The industrial action could cause misery for many holidaymakers.

Air France strike set to hit holidaymakers
Travellers set for disruption after Air France staff called a strike for Saturday. Photo:Shutterstock

Ground staff from France’s national airline are set to walk out on Saturday on what is expected to be one of the busiest days of the summer holiday season at airports.

Several unions including CGT-Air France, Sud Aerien, FO and Unsa called for industrial action to target Paris’s two main airports Orly and Charles de Gaulle as well as other hubs such as Marseille and Toulouse.

Around 215,000 passengers are expected to pass through Charles de Gaulle airport alone on Saturday as the French head off on holiday. Many will be turning up at the airport with their fingers crossed.

On Friday Air France said most flights would leave as scheduled but warned of delays. 

In a statement the company said: "Air France plans to gaurantee all of its long-haul flights, almost all of its short and medium-haul flights, but delays are expected during the day."

Unions are angry over what they see as the “degradation of working conditions”.

The airline’s main union CGT-Air France is concerned about the restructuring plan at Air France which is being put in place and will see 8,000 jobs deleted over the next three years.

The strikers are also concerned about the cutting of several services that in future will be subcontracted to outside providers.

A rally will be held at 11am at Charles de Gaulle airport on Saturday to call for “the safeguarding of local employment” and “against sub-contracting”, according to Mehdi Kemoune from CGT-Air France.

The movement also seeks to repeal the "Diard law", which forces workers to declare their intention to strike 48 hours before their planned walk-out to give airline bosses time to bring in replacements.

Unions say this law effectively reduces the impact of any strike and takes away their fundamental rights.

This argument was backed up by the fact Air France said several hundred Air France workers will "voluntarily" cover for those who are on strike, to ensure as many services as normal run on time. 

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