Major French strike Tuesday to affect flights, taxis

25th January 2016, Comments 0 comments

Travellers in France may experience disruptions on Tuesday as disgruntled air traffic controllers and taxi drivers go on strike alongside civil servants upset over shrinking purchasing power.

The French civil aviation authority DGAC called Monday on airlines to cancel 20 percent of their flights as a preventive measure ahead of the air traffic controllers' strike.

The controllers' unions want to be exempted from proposed changes to how salaries are calculated, which they say would hurt their purchasing power.

They also denounce the loss of some 1,000 jobs in less than 10 years.

Taxi drivers meanwhile have a separate beef -- competition from taxi app company Uber and other non-licensed chauffeuring services.

Uber continued to run the low-cost UberPOP service in France for several months following a ban imposed in January 2015, leading to a spate of violent protests by taxi unions in June.

Protesters blocked highways, torched cars and attacked several Uber drivers and passengers.

Ahead of Tuesday's strike, the spokesman of the Taxis de France collective, Thierry Guichard, appealed for calm, saying on French radio: "We don't want any violent protests (because) that would be counter-productive."

Thousands of taxi drivers across the country -- who are also seeking compensation for their loss of market share -- are expected to observe the strike.

Meanwhile France's some 5.6 million civil servants have been called to down tools in Paris and other cities to protest against labour reforms proposed last September affecting pay and career advancement.

The leftist FO union says that, with inflation, a July 2010 freeze in automatic pay increases has cost civil servants eight percent of their purchasing power.

The striking unions also denounce job losses totalling some 150,000 since 2007, mainly before 2012, and say the hospital sector is especially in need of job creation.


© 2016 AFP

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