Flights cancelled in France as labour reform strikes return

The Local France
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Flights cancelled in France as labour reform strikes return
Photo: AFP

Air passengers in Europe faced yet another day of disruption on Thursday as airport workers joined the latest walk-out in protest over labour reforms in France that have already been approved by parliament.


The controversial labour reforms may have already been voted into law but that hasn’t deterred unions from staging their 14th national day of protest.

Workers on the Paris Metro and the country’s TGV trains will also join the walk out but rail operators SNCF and RATP, which runs the Metro in Paris, insist the turn-out will be too low to affect services.

However that’s not the case in the skies above France where the strike by air traffic controllers and other airport workers will hit passengers hard.

The country’s civil aviation authority the DGAC has asked airlines operating out of Paris’s two airports – Orly and Charles de Gaulle - as well as at nearby Beauvais to cancel 15 percent of their flights on Thursday.

The disruptions are likely to be felt across the country with more cancellations and delays expected at other airports in France and around Europe, the DGAC warned.

Passengers are advised to contact their airline before travelling to the airport.

EasyJet has already announced that 64 flights that fly to, from or over France will be grounded on Thursday (click here for affected flights). Ryanair has cancelled 72 flights, the full list of which can be seen by clicking here.

Bosses at the airline were left furious at the latest strike by air traffic controllers in France.

“It's reprehensible that Europe’s consumers repeatedly have their holiday and travel plans disrupted or cancelled by the selfish actions of ATC unions, who use strikes as a first weapon rather than a last resort," said Ryanair's Robin Kiely. 
"This French ATC strike will impact hundreds of thousands of European consumers and throw their travel plans into chaos once more. It’s high time that the European Commission takes action to prevent these repeated ATC strikes from continuously disrupting the travel plans of millions of Europe’s citizens and their families.”

Budget airline Vueling has cancelled eight flights to Portugal, Italy and Spain from Orly airport.

Air France has not given details but said there would be a “moderate” impact on flights.

The strikes have been called by the hard-line CGT union which is refusing to accept the controversial labour laws that passed through parliament in the summer.

The laws aim to make the labour market less rigid by among other things making it easier for companies to lay off staff in times of difficulty.

The laws also aim to reduce the power of trade unions in smaller businesses by allowing bosses to make agreements on working conditions directly with staff.

Protests are due to take place in cities across France on Thursday however turn-out is expected to be far lower than in March when hundreds of thousands turned out for the first day of protest.


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