Air Traffic Controllers’ Strike in France

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Air traffic controllers in France are planning to go on strike on Thursday, April 25. The workers are protesting against the restructuring of their services, which has caused dissatisfaction within the industry. As a result of the strike, French airports and international flights are expected to face significant disruptions during the walkout. Reportedly, up to 70% of flights at major airports could be affected by the industrial action.

Reasons for the Strike

Reasons for the Strike

The strike by French air traffic controllers is primarily driven by the ongoing debate surrounding the restructuring of air navigation services. This restructuring, which has been under discussion for the past 15 months, aims to address the anticipated rise in flight traffic. However, the unions are demanding not only changes in work schedules but also salary increases and additional staff recruitment to cope with the increased workload. The unions, including the SNCTA, are seeking pay raises of 5.04% annually for the years 2025, 2026, and 2027, along with a doubling of their “special qualification allowance”.

Despite an agreed-upon ‘Olympic truce’ to halt industrial action until the end of the games, the air traffic controllers are proceeding with their strike plans, further complicating the aviation sector’s operations.

Additionally, the strikes may have broader implications as the CGT-RATP union members have signaled a potential seven-month strike from February 5 to September 9, which could impact the Ile-de-France bus and metro network, coinciding with the upcoming Olympic Games scheduled for this summer.

The French Senate recently passed a bill on April 9 that would empower the state to prohibit transport strikes during designated periods each year to prevent disruptions during major events like the Paris 2024 Olympics. The bill also stipulates the need for advance notice of strikes and increased minimum service obligations. However, the bill faces opposition and must be approved by the French National Assembly to become law.

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