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French airport strike canceled, but flights remain canceled

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Despite the strike being called off by the largest union representing air traffic controllers in France, many flights are still cancelled at major airports. The SNCTA union had planned a 24-hour strike to protest the restructuring of workers’ services, which led to widespread disruptions for travelers. Although the strike was called off after a deal on pay and working conditions was reached, it was too late to reverse the cancellations that had already been ordered by French aviation authorities. As a result, 75 percent of flights at Paris Orly Airport remain canceled, along with 55 percent at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and 65 percent at Marseille-Provence Airport.

The strike notice had created chaos for travelers and airlines alike, with major disruptions and long delays expected at French airports. The national press had referred to the day of the strike as a “journée noir” or black day for French airports due to the significant impact it was expected to have. The strike was expected to lead to the cancellation of up to 70 percent of flights in and out of French airports, causing further concerns for travelers and airlines. Despite the strike being called off, the cancellations remained in place, causing continued inconvenience for passengers trying to travel.

The strike was called in response to the restructuring of air navigation services, a topic that had been under debate for the past 15 months. Air traffic authorities were looking to overhaul work schedules to better accommodate an expected increase in flight traffic, leading to demands from unions for increases in salaries and employee numbers. The SNCTA union had been seeking pay increases of 5.04 percent per year, as well as the doubling of their “special qualification allowance” in the coming years. While a deal was eventually reached to call off the strike, the details of the agreement were not disclosed, leaving uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the negotiations.

Concerns have been raised about the potential impact of strikes on major events like the Paris Olympics, with the possibility of transport strikes affecting the Ile-de-France bus and metro network during the games. The French Senate recently adopted a bill to allow the state to ban transport strikes for set periods each year to prevent disruptions during major events such as the Paris 2024 Olympics. The bill also aims to provide more advance notice of strikes and increase minimum service obligations to minimize the impact on travelers. However, the bill still faces opposition and must be approved by the French National Assembly before it can become law, leaving the potential for future strikes to disrupt major events.

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