Five days of air travel disruption

Pensions reform strike on Thursday immediately followed by a separate four-day walkout

Pilots, cabin crew and airport staff to strike from Thursday, while other sectors return to normal as strikes die down

AIR passengers in France are facing up to five days of disruption later this week, as two separate strikes affect flights.

Four trade unions have called on airline and airport workers to walk out on Thursday, November 4, to keep up the protest against pension reforms.

The strike will be immediately followed by a four-day walkout from November 5-8 by French airline pilots, cabin crew and airport staff.

They are protesting against a proposed change to the rules on benefits-in-kind, which is part of the social security reform law currently going through parliament.

Under the new system, airline workers would have to declare the discount plane tickets they receive as a taxable benefit, and pay social charges on them.

Unions say this will have "serious financial consequences" on staff. For example, about a third of Air France staff live outside Paris and receive cut-price tickets to travel to work and back.

Full details of what effect the strikes will have on flights should be available later this week, and you should check with your airline before travelling.

Easyjet claims on its website that there is a "general strike in France" from today until November 6. However there is no mention of this elsewhere and flights appear to be running normally today.

The airline said: "We are working closely with the French government to try and minimise the impact to our customers, unfortunately however we will have to cancel a number of our flights and have been advised that there is a high risk of additional disruption during the strike period.

"As soon as we know which flights are directly affected we will contact those customers affected."

Elsewhere, the pensions strikes appear to have died down. SNCF services returned to normal over the weekend, and about 95 per cent of petrol stations are operating normally. The rest are due to be topped up by Thursday.

Another day of street protests against the pension reforms is planned for Saturday, November 6.

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