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STRIKES

Air France unions announce new two-day strike

Air France unions representing both flight crews and ground staff announced on Sunday a new two-day strike for April 10th and 11th, the latest move in its pay dispute with the French flag carrier since February.

Air France unions announce new two-day strike
File photo: AFP

The new dates are in addition to plans to strike on Tuesday and Saturday, in the same week that workers with rail operator SNCF also begin a series of strike days.

The staff of Air France have already carried out a work stoppage on three dates, February 22nd and March 23rd and 30th.

In a statement Sunday, the three pilot unions slammed the “obstinate refusal” of the airline's management “to take into consideration the least of their demands.”

The pilots have been joined by unions representing flight attendants and ground personnel, which later issued a joint statement saying Air France “does not take seriously the determination of the employees and the unions.”

Air France personnel are demanding a six percent salary increase, with unions arguing the airline should share the wealth with its staff after strong results in 2017.

But management insists it cannot offer higher salaries without jeopardising growth in an intensely competitive sector.

Air France told AFP late Sunday it “deplored the new strike which comes even as management is urging unions to come to new meetings on the negotiations”.

The airline said it was necessary to maintain a dialogue “to limit the impact on the still fragile economic situation of the company.”

Air France is set to bring in a 0.6 percent pay rise from April 1st and another 0.4 percent increase from October 1st, along with bonuses and promotions equivalent to a 1.4 percent raise for ground staff — seen by unions as grossly inadequate.

The French state owns 17.6 percent of the carrier as part of the Air France-KLM group, Europe's second-biggest airline, which has been plagued by strikes and labour disputes in its French operations in recent years.

READ ALSO: Macron reform drive is make-or-break for French unions

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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