Walk-outs in France thwart air, train travel as civil service workers fight planned job cuts

Air France

A walk-out Tuesday by French air traffic controllers has disrupted dozens of flights in France, particularly those leaving Orly airport in Paris, Lyon and Marseille, according to news reports.

The walk-out is in support of an ongoing nationwide strike by public sector workers in France in protest against reforms proposed by President Emmanuel Macron that include cutting 120,000 civil service jobs by 2022, The Local reported on May 22.

In response to this latest walk-out, airlines have been asked to cut 20 percent of flights serving France.

Ryanair, a budget airline, called the move by French air traffic controllers “unjustified,” in a statement to The Local.

“We also expect delays to flights to/from/over france and we advise customers due to travel on Tuesday to check the status of their flight,” the company stated.

Air France, one of the largest airlines in Europe, reported in early May that the strikes had cost the company about $358 million, according to CNN. The company also said that about 63 percent of its first quarter operating loss of $141 million was due to the strike.

The company’s chief executive officer, Jean-Marc Janaillac, announced then that he would quit after a multi-year pay offer was voted down.

Union workers have organized between 130 and 140 demonstrations Tuesday, about two months after the last organized strike on March 22 that drew an estimated 300,000 people, according to the Business Times.

The walk-out is the third stoppage in the past year - since Macron was elected in May 2017.

It affects schools, some energy sectors and public kindergartens, according to news reports.

Earlier this month, rail strikes thwarted train services across France, disrupting travel for the 4.5 million people who ride the trains daily, according to a May 7 article in The Local.

The rail strikes began April 3.

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