Air France unions announce four new strike days in April

Air France passengers are set for even more travel misery in the coming month, with unions announcing four new strike days in April. Air France has already lost €100 million due to strikes.

Air France unions announce four new strike days in April
Photo: AFP
Whether you're travelling by plane or train, getting around France is going to be a challenge in April. 
After an unsuccessful meeting with the airline's management, ten unions representing Air France staff including pilots, cabin crews and ground staff have announced two more two-day strikes in April.
The four additional strike days are scheduled for Tuesday April 17th, Wednesday April 18th, Monday April 23rd and Tuesday April 24th as staff continue to battle for a wage increase. 
The joint union group blasted Air France chiefs for their “sham negotiations” and vowed to carry on their fight to get a 6 percent pay rise across the board.
That's on top of the strike days already announced for Saturday April 7th and a two-day strike on Tuesday April 10th and Wednesday April 11th. 
The new dates follow four previous strike days which took place on February 22nd, March 23rd, March 30th and April 3rd. 
The really bad news for passengers is that three of the Air France strike dates, April 18th, 23rd, and 24th coincide with the rail strikes by France's national rail operator SNCF (see calendar below). 
Unions representing pilots, cabin crew and ground staff have called the strikes to demand a 6 percent pay rise across the board to make up a loss of their spending power in recent years due to stagnating wages.
Management is offering a basic increase of 1 percent to be paid in two installments and a range of incentives, which trade unions have dismissed as “small change”.
The unions representing Air France staff warned they would toughen up the pace of the strike action in the face of the airline management which they say has “offered no concrete response” to the demands already expressed during the strikes of February 22nd and March 23rd. 
“Coming in once again with empty pockets, making no realistic proposal, the leadership again persists with confrontation and ensures that the strikes will go on,” read a statement from the join union group.
“This stubbornness has already lost 100 million euros for Air France,” the statement read.
The unions have also accused the airline's management of “seeking to create division” and the recent meeting to try to defuse the wage dispute lasted less than 45 minutes.
The dates on the calendar below with a red mark under them are when Air France staff are set to strike whilst the dates in blue are when the scheduled rail strikes are due to take place.
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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.