Air France strike: Thousands of passengers stranded as airline cancels 30% of flights in pay row

Walkouts have been costing airline around £17.5m a day 

Samuel Osborne
Saturday 07 April 2018 23:43 BST
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Air France is urging passengers to check the status of their flights before coming to the airport and is offering to change tickets for free
Air France is urging passengers to check the status of their flights before coming to the airport and is offering to change tickets for free

Around 30 per cent of Air France flights were cancelled as strikes over pay rises intensified.

The walkout is affecting international and domestic travel, which account for a quarter of flights at Paris' Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports.

Air France is urging passengers to check the status of their flights before coming to the airport.

It is also offering to change tickets for free.

The walkout comes amid a turbulent period for travel in France, with most French trains stopping as a strike over the French president Emmanuel Macron's economic reforms continues on Saturday night and is set to last through Monday.

The strike is Air France's fifth since February, and the number of cancelled flights is rising.

This week, unions announced more strikes will take place in April to coincide with national rail walkouts.

Air France unions want 6 per cent pay raises after years of salary freezes. Air France is offering 1 per cent raises, saying anything higher will hurt its turnaround efforts.

The strikes have been costing Air France some €20m (£17.5m) a day and have hurt its share price.

Meanwhile, the SNCF national railway announced 80 per cent of high speed trains and two-thirds of regional trains will be cancelled starting on Saturday night as unions stage another two-day walkout.

About a quarter of Eurostar trains to London will be cancelled, and no trains were expected to run at all to Switzerland, Spain or Italy.

The strike is part of three months of rolling train strikes seen as the biggest challenge to Mr Macron since he took office last year.

Rail unions are angry at plans by his government to abolish a generous benefits system which gives train workers jobs for life.

Both the government and unions are holding firm despite continuing negotiations.

France prides itself on its railways, which are as a pillar of public service.

Mr Macron argues the special status for train workers is no longer tenable in a globalised and increasingly automated economy - part of his broader plans to overhaul the French economy to make it more competitive.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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