French baggage handlers stage swine flu strike

3rd May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Baggage handlers in Paris refused to unload planes arriving from Mexico and Spain over swine flu fears Saturday, causing delays for hundreds of passengers, airport officials said Sunday.

PARIS - Baggage handlers in Paris refused to unload planes arriving from Mexico and Spain over swine flu fears Saturday, causing delays for hundreds of passengers, airport officials said Sunday.

Some 1,000 travellers were caught up in the protest at Paris's second international airport, Orly, staged by an unspecified number of workers at a private airport contractor, Alyzia.

The protest action targeted a flight from the Mexican resort of Cancun, and around a dozen subsequent services arriving from Spain. The handlers returned to work at around midnight.

Under French law employees may refuse to stay on their job if they have "a reasonable motive" to believe that their health or life is at risk.

"They exercised their right to stay off the job, because of fears of swine flu," an airport official said.

An Air France crew and several individual flight attendants have refused to board flights to Mexico since the outbreak of the swine flu crisis.

French health authorities on Saturday announced they would supply face masks to all border police, customs and airport workers whose job brings them into direct contact with passengers from Mexico.

France has confirmed two cases of what the World Health Organisation is now calling A(H1N1) influenza virus on Friday.

AFP / Expatica

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