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French radio journalists strike in protest over plans to merge with ‘France’s Fox News’

Billionaire Vincent Bolloré's bid to shake up the French news media by catering to conservative and right-wing voters is facing resistance from journalists at his next target, one of the country's biggest private radio stations.

French radio journalists strike in protest over plans to merge with 'France's Fox News'
Outside the Paris building that is home to Europe 1 radio and a number of other media outlets. Photo: Philippe Lopez | AFP)

Employees at Europe 1 have been on strike since Friday as fears simmer about efforts to shift the station’s editorial line under pressure from Bollore.

Underlying the turbulence are moves to bring Europe 1 together with CNews, a rolling TV news channel launched in 2017 by Bolloré’s media group that critics have likened to Fox News in the United States.

“Day after day, the station seems to align itself a bit more with the output of CNews,” a column published at the weekend by Europe 1 journalists and union representatives said.

Writing in Le Monde newspaper, they described CNews editorial stance as “strongly anchored to the right, even at times to the far right” and warned that Europe 1 risked losing, “what is most precious: its credibility among listeners.”

Last month, management at the radio station confirmed plans for the first time to create links between the two Bolloré-controlled companies, which will see more sharing of programming and on-air talent.

The tie-up is seen as being driven by commercial logic – struggling Europe 1 has been shedding listeners for years, while CNews with its raft of celebrity presenters is going from strength to strength.

But the possible political consequences of a closely linked radio and TV operation have not been missed by President Emmanuel Macron, who is said to be monitoring events closely ahead of presidential elections next year.

“If in the future Bollore does exactly what he wants with Europe 1, and does the same thing as he did at CNews, clearly that gives him colossal (political) firepower,” said David Medioni, head of a Media Observatory at the Jean-Jaures Foundation, a left-leaning think-tank.

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STRIKES

French airline staff threaten strikes over Christmas

Unions representing cabin crew on several airlines have threatened to take strike action over the Christmas holidays in a series of increasingly bitter pay disputes.

French airline staff threaten strikes over Christmas

Cabin crew for Air France have already outlined dates for possible strike days, while unions representing staff at Easyjet and Ryanair are threatening “massive disruption” unless their demands are met.

The SNPNC-FO union, which represents cabin crew working in France, is calling for pay increases for its members working for budget airline Easyjet, warning that if no agreement is reached there will be a “very high risk” of walk-outs over Christmas.

Strikes, prices and services – what you need to know about travel over Christmas 2022

No exact dates have been proposed yet, but the union says that the current pay offer does not cover the rising cost of living, adding “the management will be responsible for the disruptions suffered by our customers”.

Cabin crew at Air France have filed a provisional strike notice from December 22nd to January 2nd, although whether staff actually walk out depends on how the pay negotiations go.

“This notice should serve as a warning to our management,” explains a union leaflet. “If this warning is not heeded, only a strong mobilisation will be able to tip the balance.”

So far the only confirmed strike action is at Air Antilles and Air Guyane – which mostly run flights between France and the Caribbean and French Guyana. Their staff will be walking out between December 17th and December 22nd, unless there is a breakthrough in pay negotiations. 

Ryanair crew working in Belgium have also threatened strike action over Christmas, although so far their French colleagues have not revealed any strike plans. 

Things look better for rail and ferry travel, with no strikes currently planned – although anyone with a trip to the UK planned should be aware of strike days planned by British rail staff over the Christmas and New Year period.

French airport ground staff and air traffic controllers won themselves a pay rise after strike action over the summer holidays. 

You can find all the latest strike information for France on our strikes page HERE.

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