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STRIKES

France’s summer 2022 strike timetable for roads, rail and air travel

The transport sector - particularly air travel - has been hit by strike action all over Europe this summer. Here's your guide to the declared strike days in France and the services that will be affected.

France's summer 2022 strike timetable for roads, rail and air travel
Paris Charles de Gaulle airport employees wave trade union flags as they stage a strike to demand higher wages at Roissy Charles De Gaulle Airport. Photo by Geoffroy Van der Hasselt / AFP

Why are the strikes taking place?

The majority of the strikes are over pay, with unions saying that the soaring cost of living should mean pay increases for staff. So far there has been no call for a general strike, and each dispute is a separate matter between company bosses and the relevant workers’ representatives.

We will update this story throughout the summer.

Airlines

The air travel sector is the worst hit so far, with several different strikes called.

Lufthansa – One of Lufthansa’s main unions called the German airline’s ground staff to strike on Wednesday July 27th as part of a wage dispute, heralding “delays and cancellations.” This will impact several airports across Europe. In France, flights with Lufthansa to and from Nice and Marseille could be affected.

Ryanair – Ryanair staff had filed a strike notice for ‘unlimited action’ over the summer, planning for a series of one or two-day strikes throughout the summer in conjunction with staff in other European countries. Pilots with Ryanair in France and Spain reached an agreement to return to pre-pandemic wages, after having taken salary cuts during the health crisis, and have therefore called off industrial action that was scheduled for July 23rd and 24th, and 25th through 28th, respectively.

Easyjet – French Easyjet pilots have written an open letter to the company CEO denouncing the chaos that has already seen the budget airline cancel dozens of flights because of staff shortages, but so far the pilots have not declared a formal strike. 

However Easyjet’s flight attendants have been called to strike from July 29th to 31st.

Airport – workers at Aéroports de Paris (which covers Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports but not Beauvais) have called off their strike after reaching a deal on pay with the airport operator.

Staff shortages – in addition to strike action, air travel around Europe has been hit hard by shortages of key staff, and many airports have seen long wait times to check in.

Railways

There’s some better news for train passengers.

SNCF strike – workers on the French rail operator SNCF held a one-day strike on Wednesday, July 6th, which affected high-speed TGV, the Intercité and local TER trains in all parts of France. Although the dispute remains unresolved, unions say their next meeting with rail bosses will be on September 1st and there will be no more strike notices before that date.

That doesn’t rule out local on disputes on issues not related to pay, but does mean that there will be no widespread, nationwide strikes on the SNCF network over the summer.

Paris public transport – workers on the Paris public transport systems are also involved in a separate dispute about changes to changes to working conditions, this series of one-day actions has so far affected mostly the suburban Transilien trains and the RER network, but not the Metro. 

Roads

Truck drivers blockades – Drivers too are calling for wage increases in what is likely to be the first in a series of events – usually drivers protest by either blockading certain addresses such as business depots or staging opérations escargot – rolling roadblocks on major routes.

Service station strike – employees of French energy giant Total Energies are also in dispute over wages and staged a one-day strike in June. Employees of service stations run by Total Energies walked out, while others blockaded Total’s refineries so that deliveries of fuel could not get out. So far, there has been no notice filed of a second strike day. 

Others

So far, most of the industrial action has centred on transport, which is one of the sectors that has the most impact on the daily life of both French residents and visitors. However there are other sectors that are involved in disputes over pay and conditions, notably healthcare. Staff at several hospitals have already staged industrial action – although for healthcare workers a grève involves staging protests outside the hospital, rather than walking out.

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TRAVEL NEWS

France and Ireland to create new combined train and ferry tickets

The French and Irish leaders have announced the creation of a new combined ticket, that can be used on ferries and trains in both countries.

France and Ireland to create new combined train and ferry tickets

Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin is currently in Paris visiting French president Emmanuel Macron, and the pair have jointly announced the creation of the new ticket, “in order to encourage green mobility between France and Ireland”.

The joint statement added that the ticket will be in effect by summer 2023, saying: “The objective will be to allow, in particular our young people, to travel between our two countries thanks to a green, simple and reasonably priced deal.”

Full details are yet to be confirmed, but the idea sounds similar to the ‘Franco-German ticket’ announced earlier this month, which will give special deals on train tickets between France and Germany to young people.

Full details of that scheme are set to be announced in January. 

Martin was in Paris for the signing of the Celtic Interconnector agreement between France and Ireland, an electricity agreement that links France and Ireland via a 500km undersea cable.

At present journeys between France and Ireland require separate tickets for French trains, Irish trains and the ferry, unless you are travelling with an Interrail pass which can in certain circumstances include ferry travel.

The Franco-Irish ticket would replicate that system, but for single journeys rather than the multi-journey pass of Interrail. 

READ ALSO Yes, travel across Europe by train is far better than flying – even with kids

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