UPDATED calendar: When to avoid train and plane travel in France this spring

There are plenty of strikes in the calendar for the end of April and May in France, with Air France unions announcing new dates and rail workers set for 26 more days of industrial action. Here's an updated look at the days you might want to avoid plane and train travel this spring.

UPDATED calendar: When to avoid train and plane travel in France this spring
Photo: AFP

If you are coming to France in the next few days and months or you just live here and rely on train travel then there are quite a few dates to get in your diary. (SEE full calendar below.)

Rail workers have long since made their intentions clear to hold a series of two-day rolling strikes until April 28th.

The first of these two-day strikes was held on Tuesday April 3rd and Wednesday April 4th and rail users were given a sign of what they can expect over the coming weeks with services severely disrupted.

Rail workers believe the tactic of striking for two days, then returning to work for three days, before another two day strike will maximize the disruption to the rail network whilst not hitting them as hard in the pocket as a continuous rolling strike.

The dates below in blue show when the rail strikes are due to take place. Unions have vowed they will go ahead unless the government backs down on its reform plans. Both sides seem determined to fight their corner so it looks unlikely a compromise will be reached that will see the strikes called off.

Air France workers, including pilots, cabin crews and ground staff, have also been getting in on the action too.

They have been holding a number of one-day strikes since February but have now decided to tighten the screw on company chiefs by announcing four new dates. Significantly they coincide with the rail workers strike as unions for the airline's workers, who are fighting for a 5.1 percent pay increase across the board in 2018.

They might not have any more strikes planned for April but this week they announced four new strike days for May. 

These are set to take place on May 3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th.

The dates in the calendar with a red mark are when Air France staff are due to strike. On previous strike days around a quarter of flights have been cancelled to and from airports all over France.

With Air France bosses insisting the company will only offer a 2 percent pay rise to staff a compromise that would see the industrial action called off does not seem likely either.

In which case anyone relying on plane or train travel over the next few months might want to make alternative plans. CLICK HERE If you need information on what to do if you need to cancel your tickets.



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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.