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‘Minimum service’ plan for airports

A law to be discussed in parliament is meant to minimise problems to passengers from air strikes

THE UMP party is seeking to pass a law intended to lessen disruption to passengers due to air industry strikes.

It comes after pilots and stewards gave notice of a strike last August (ultimately not carried out), Air France cabin crew went on strike in the autumn, then security staff went on strike at the end of last year.

While being described in some of the French media as aimed at a “minimum service”, the law, examined in the National Assembly tomorrow, does not in fact force any would-be strikers to work, the sector having no public service obligations apart from in air traffic control.

It would oblige individuals, with sanctions for non-compliance, to declare intention to strike at least 48 hours before each strike day, and require employers to make traffic estimates no more than 48 hours before the start of disruption.

The law also requires employers and workers to try to avoid strikes through dialogue, by drawing up “conflict prevention framework agreements”.

The unions however see the plans as limiting their right to strike – and several have announced the intention to strike over them, on February 6-9 before the law goes to the Senate on February 15.

“Striking is not our cup of tea, it is an acknowledgement of failure, but the work of preliminary negotiations is completely derailed by this law,” said the vice president of the SNPL union Philippe Vivier.

The law is inspired by measures in place in the rail industry created in a 2007 law.

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