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Scores of flights cancelled in France as air traffic controllers join strike

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Scores of flights cancelled in France as air traffic controllers join strike
AFP
09:39 CEST+02:00
Airlines have been forced to cancel scores of flights to, from and over France on Tuesday after French air traffic control unions joined the public sector walk-out.

Three unions representing French air traffic controllers joined the walk-out in solidarity with the nationwide public sector strike on Tuesday.

In all, French aviation authority the DGAC asked airlines to cut 20 percent of flights to, from and over France on Tuesday.

In France flights leaving from Orly airport in Paris, Lyon and Marseille will be particularly affected although the DGAC warned that there would be "disruption throughout the country".

Passengers are urged to check with their airlines before heading to the airport.

A statement from budget airline Ryanair, which has urged the EU to take action to prevent French air traffic controllers causing repeated disruption through their strikes, called the industrial action "unjustified".

The airline said: "Due to yet another French ATC strike, Ryanair regrets to inform customers that it has been forced to cancel a number of flights on Tuesday (22 May). All affected customers have been contacted by email and text message and advised of their options: a full refund, rebooking on to the next available flight or transferring to an alternative flight.

Due to this unjustified ATC strike action, we also expect delays to flights to/from/over France and we advise customers due to travel on Tuesday to check the status of their flight on the Ryanair.com website.

French public sector staff are protesting reforms proposed by President Emmanuel Macron, with the country braced for possible major disruption.The stoppages are part of a series of demonstrations by public sector employees against Macron, who has pledged to reduce public spending, trim jobs and overhaul large parts of the vast French state.

All unions representing civil servants have backed Tuesday's strike, a rare show of unity which was last seen around 10 years ago. 

Their walk-out, which will affect schools, public kindergartens, flights and some energy infrastructure, is the third stoppage since Macron's election in May 2017.

"Thanks to the civil service, all of the unions in this country will be together," said labour leader Bernadette Groison from the FSU union. "That shows how high the stakes are."

The centrist government plans public sector reforms next year which would lead to the greater use of contract workers for some state services and a cut of 120,000 jobs by 2022 out of 5.6 million.

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