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Airline ground crew to join mass strike action in France in December

Air France ground crew will be joining other transport unions in nationwide strike action in France in December, as unions called for 'the blocking of all transport'.

Airline ground crew to join mass strike action in France in December
Some Air France ground crew will strike on December 5th. Photo: AFP

What was first called as a one-day strike in Paris on December 5th has spread in recent weeks to a nationwide action, with some unions threatening to extend the walk-outs throughout December.

Unions representing staff at French rail operator SNCF and Paris public transport network RATP had already confirmed their involvement, and some bus drivers and hauliers' unions are also getting involved. The 'yellow vest' protesters say they will also be staging some action on December 5th.

But now the Air France chapter of Force Ouvriere (FO) – the largest union representing ground crew – has called on its members to join in the walk-outs, which have been called as a protest to plans to reform the French pension system.

READ ALSO: 'Unlimited' December strikes in France: What you need to know

The Air France chapter of the CGT union, which also has members among the ground crew, has scheduled a meeting of members where they will decide whether to join in the action.

An FO spokesman said: “This mobilisation must lead to the blocking of all transport, its logistics and infrastructure: road, rail, air transport, maritime and inland waterway transport, urban transport… and thus contribute to establishing the necessary balance of power to make the government bend and obtain the withdrawal of the universal retirement project.”

The FO ground crew strike statement states it will be joining 'renewable' strike action from December 5th, while RATP and SNCF unions have issued notices that they will stop work on Thursday, December 4th at 10pm for an unlimited period.

The action follows a one-day strike in Paris on September 13th that brought the city's public transport network almost entirely to a halt.

Transport operators – rail, road and air – generally only find out a couple of days before strike action exactly how many workers will be absent, but if airline ground crew do join the action delays and cancellations would be expected at several French airports.

READ ALSO Why pension reform spells trouble in France

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TRAVEL NEWS

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.

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