Hundreds of flights cancelled in France as air traffic controllers go on strike

Around 75,000 air passengers in France were set for travel headaches on Thursday as they were warned hundreds of flights would be cancelled due to striking French air traffic controllers.

Hundreds of flights cancelled in France as air traffic controllers go on strike
Illustration photo: AFP
A total of 75,000 passengers could be directly affected as air traffic controllers protested in solidarity with the nationwide public sector strike on Thursday.
Around 600 flights could be cancelled as a result of the strike, with France's aviation authority the DGAC asking the airlines serving French airports to reduce their flight program by 30 percent. 
The big European airlines announced that hundreds of flights could be canceled and delays are also expected on the flights that are still operating.
Air France announced that several airports would be affected by cancellations and delays: Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Nice, Bordeaux, Nantes and Beauvais.
Air France has said that customers can change their flight free of charge if they are booked on a flight today. 
The Airlines for Europe (A4E) association has asked public authorities for information on strike forecasts to be more transparent in order to better anticipate disruptions and support customers. 
This kind of movement “considerably impacts the travel plans of the customers and the airlines' operations”, said the association. 
It is mainly short-haul flights set to be impacted with just 73 percent of them guaranteed, which does not include last-minute delays and cancellations. 
However “almost all” medium-haul flights and 100 percent of long-haul flights will be running. 
The unions taking part have denounced the abolition of 120,000 civil service posts, with teachers also taking to the streets on Thursday to protest government reforms
The government is planning public sector reforms 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.
The strike is set to last until Friday at 6 am. 

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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.