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STRIKES

French air traffic controllers set for strike

There's both good news and bad news for travellers in France after plans by an air traffic controllers union to hold a strike on Tuesday and Wednesday were scrapped, only for another union to insist a walkout later in the week will go ahead.

French air traffic controllers set for strike
One union cancels a strike, another says it will go ahead. Photo: AFP
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It could be another turbulent week for air passengers travelling to and from France and beyond.
 
Just as trade unions called off plans to strike on Tuesday and Wednesday, much to the relief of passengers, another union representing air traffic controllers is maintaining plans to strike on Thursday July 2nd and Friday July 3rd.
 
The unions UNSA and CGT called off their threat to strike on Tuesday and Wednesday after a meeting with France's secretary of state for transport.
 
“After several hours of negotiation, we can confirm that UNSA-ICNA has lifted its call to strike for the 30th of June and 1st of July,” said the union.
 
Nevertheless the union SNCTA along with Force Ouvrière, which represent just over 50 percent of  air traffic controllers, have however confirmed their intention to strike. 
 
Cancellations and delays are expected. The last time the SNCTA union held a strike in April it resulted in about 40 percent of flights in France being scrapped.
 
The industrial action is motivated by a desire to improve salaries and working conditions and unions complain about a rise in air traffic but a drop in the number of controllers.
 
Negotiations are ongoing between authorities and unions so the strike plans may yet still change.
 
We'll have more updates on the planned industrial action throughout the week.

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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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