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Europe

Further cancellations on last day of French airline strike

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-02-10

Air France cancelled 65% of its long-haul flights and 75% of its medium- and short-haul flights on Thursday, the final day of a strike over the airline's striking policies. The airline claims the stoppage is costing EUR8-10mn per day.

AFP - French flag-carrier Air France cancelled more than a third of its long-haul flights and a quarter of shorter journeys Thursday as a four-day strike by aviation workers entered its final day.

The strike by pilots, flight attendants and ground staff was costing Air France eight to 10 million euros ($11-$13 million) per day, the company said.

Air France said it was operating 65 percent of its long-haul flights and 75 percent of medium- and short-haul flights, including by regional subsidiaries.

About the same proportion of flights had been cancelled on the third day of the strike on Wednesday.

Air France, the firm the worst hit by the industrial action, urged customers to postpone travel and sent out tens of thousands of emails and text messages to clients warning them their flights had been cancelled or delayed.

The strike hit services at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport, a global aviation hub, as well as several French regional airports.

Unions called the strike to protest against a draft law that would require aviation workers to individually give 48 hours notice prior to striking, saying this limits labour rights.

The bill was approved by France's lower house last month and is due to be debated in the Senate.

The head of the SNPL pilots' union, Yves Deshayes, said the union was to meet transport ministry officials on Friday and then decide whether to pursue further action against the bill.

"Depending on the proposals made we will decide whether to continue the strike or not," he said, adding that industrial action could take place during France's February school holidays.

But Transport Minister Thierry Mariani said the government would not drop the bill, which he said was aimed at protecting passengers' rights.

"It is out of the question that we move on this text because it is not only useful but indispensable," he told AFP. "French policy is decided in parliament and not in a union headquarters."

Unions said more than 60 percent of pilots were participating in the strike but Air France said only 30 percent of pilots and 15 percent of flight attendants were taking part.

 

Date created : 2012-02-09

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