French aviation unions call four-day strike

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Unions representing French pilots and cabin crew on Saturday announced a four-day strike starting next Friday to protest against plans to tax various job-related perks.

The planned strike would be a fresh blow to French travellers, after action in protest at controversial pension reforms hit domestic and international flights across France last Thursday.

Under legislation being discussed in the National Assembly, perks such as reduced air tickets, hotel room rates and airport parking would be subject to tax, said Yves Deshayes of SNPL France Alpa, the main union of French pilots.

The strike would run until Monday, November 8, unions said.

"This does not just concern pilots, it affects everybody, particularly transport workers," said Deshayes. He called on the government to cancel the proposed legislation.

The SNPNC/FO union representing cabin crew warned that the law change would have grave consequences for its members.

"Lots of hostesses and stewards live in the country and work in Paris. They use three of four reduced tickets each month to return home," said the union's leader, Fatiha Aggoune-Schneider.

French airlines have complained that the strikes and accompanying fuel protests cost more than April's Icelandic volcano scare, which cost them 188 million euros (263 million dollars) in delays and lost business.

© 2010 AFP

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