French air traffic control strike causes more misery for passengers

The strike by French air traffic controllers entered its second day on Tuesday forcing airlines to cancel hundreds of flights to, from and over France.

French air traffic control strike causes more misery for passengers
Photo: AFP

Air traffic controllers from the UNSA union have downed tools at Brest, Bordeaux and Aix-en-Provence airports as part of their four-day strike that began on Monday.

On Tuesday the strike also involved controllers at Nice and Marseille airports.

But it’s not just those airports that are affected with the industrial action, motivated by a dispute over working times and conditions, having a knock-on effect across the country.

French aviation authorities say around 25 percent of flights to, from, or over the south of France are affected and that number rises to 33 percent for the west of the country.

It comes after around 375 flights were cancelled on Monday.

That meant airlines including easyJet, Ryanair and Air France have all had to scrap flights.

A statement from easyJet sent to The Local said it had to cancel 43 flights on Tuesday, four of which were to or from the UK.

“We are also expecting other flights to experience delays,” the spokesperson said.

The airline is advising its customers to check the status of their flight via the flight tracker on their website

Ryanair also told The Local it had had to cancel “a number” of flights on Tuesday due to the “unjustified” strike action.

Customers have been told to check the status of their flights on the Ryanair website

Both airlines have called on the government and the EU to take action to limit the impact caused by the frequent strikes by French air traffic controllers.

The airlines that are members of the Airlines for Europe (A4E) association estimate that between 2010 and 2016 air traffic control strikes have cost the industry some €12 billion.

Staff at France’s national carrier Air France also went on strike on Tuesday in a dispute over executive pay, but it did not have any extra impact on the travel chaos.

Air France said all its long haul services were guaranteed but could only operate 74 percent of domestic flights from Paris Orly and the regional airports.

Some 94 percent of Air France flights from Charles de Gaulle were running as scheduled.

Passengers at all airports should expect delays.

Let us know if you have been affected by the strike by tweeting @TheLocalFrance.



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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.