Air France strike: Airline cancels 15 percent of flights on Thursday

Air France has been forced to cancel 15 percent of its flights on Thursday due to the ongoing staff strikes over a pay dispute.

Air France strike: Airline cancels 15 percent of flights on Thursday
Photo: AFP
Travellers in France may be facing some more travel headaches on Thursday. 
Air France said on Wednesday that 85 percent of its flights will be operating, including 78 percent of long-haul flights, more than 80 percent of its flights to and from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and nearly 90 percent of its short-haul flights. 
Air France has not ruled out disturbances and delays during the day and has advised customers to check the information on operated flights 24 hours before departure on its website.
On Thursday — the 12th day of industrial action in the ongoing pay dispute — the rate of strikers is estimated at 18.8 percent for pilots, 18 percent for cabin crew and 10 percent of ground staff. 
And while the cancellations might sound bad — especially if you're planning to fly — the situation is looking a lot better than on recent strike days when the airline was forced to cancel around a quarter of its flights
Staff and management at the French carrier have been locked in a dispute over pay since February.
Unions say workers deserve to benefit from years of belt-tightening that have returned the carrier to operating profitability, after seeing their wages effectively frozen since 2011.
Management says it cannot afford their demands of a 5.1 percent increase this year, saying it would undo the benefits of the restructuring efforts.
Company heads are currently trying to put an end to the dispute by launching an internal consultation with employees, asking them directly whether they would be willing to accept the deal proposed on April 16th which was rejected by unions. 
On 20th April, CEO of the company, Jean-Marc Janaillac put his resignation in the balance, saying he would quit his job if his employees voted against the offer.
The results of this consultation are expected on Thursday evening.

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


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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.