Pilots union calls for rolling strike

Air France has said it is too early to see how the planned strike would affect passengers

“Significant delays” predicted during May as union calls for a month of walkouts in protest over French strike law

FRENCH pilots’ union SNPL France Alpa has called for a “rolling walkout” of several hours a day between May 3 and May 30 in a protest over strike legislation.

And it has warned that, if the strike goes ahead, passengers should expect "significant delays".

The union claims that a clause in Diard Law, which says that individual pilots must declare their intention to join a strike 48 hours before the protest, gives airlines enough time to find replacement pilots to run a normal service.

It was introduced to allow airlines to improve information for passengers. But the union says it means any legitimate protests are pointless.

A recent dispute involving members working for easyJet resulted in no disruption even though it was supported by 85% of SNPL pilots, the union said, because the company was able to find replacement pilots in time.

During the month-long protest, pilots will strike for a few hours each day across different time slots, thus not allowing airlines the chance to find replacement.

SNPL president Yves Deshayes said: “We are willing to provide all flights, but there will be significant delays.”

Air France, meanwhile, said the SNPL strike: “If this conflict is to take place, Air France will be able to notify its customers in advance and will be mobilised to mitigate any inconvenience.”

The company added: “At this stage it is not yet clear how the strike will affect customers.”

It also said the strike was not against Air France directly, but was a national protest by the union.

SNPL also wants assurances on airport taxes, pilot pay and cabin crew security.

Mr Deshayes described the tax burden on Air France from the so-called Chirac law, which funds the purchase of medicines in developing countries, as “racing with a ball and chain”.

“Our companies are dying slowly for the benefit of foreign companies and it is our jobs are going,” he said.

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