Strike sees Vueling scrap two-thirds of its flights at French airport

The cancellations at Paris-Orly will affect more than 12,000 people, say unions

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Industrial action has forced low-cost airline Vueling to cancel more than two-thirds of its flights from Paris-Orly airport this weekend.

The air hostess and stewards’ union the SNPNC-FO called for strikes on Friday (April 28), Saturday (April 29), Sunday (April 30) and Monday (May 1).

It also wants a walkout on the following weekend (May 6-8). The strike could be renewed throughout May, the union added.

Vueling said in a statement: “Many Vueling flights have been delayed or cancelled. This was something that in some cases could not be avoided, despite taking all possible measures.”

More than 12,000 people will be affected both departing and arriving at the airport, said the union. The May 1 date falls in the middle of the school holidays for people in the Paris region.

The union said that 85% of staff had participated in its strike last weekend and expected as many people again to take part, especially on May 1.

In its strike call, the union said that there had been a “lack of recognition in remuneration of hostesses and stewards”, “significant changes to scheduling several times in the past months”, “a disconnection with rest days being respected” and “numerous errors with pay”.

The union had previously said the management had been offering a €1.50 raise only to hostesses and stewards, whose pay is not much higher than Smic (minimum wage).

But in a statement to AFP, the company said: “We are still waiting for a meeting date to find a lasting solution between the union and management, to end this social action.

“For more than two weeks, the SNPNC-FO has not answered our numerous requests for meetings.”

Read also: Easyjet boss says France strikes having ‘unacceptable consequences’

Vueling is a low-cost airline, based in Spain. Paris-Orly is its hub in France and it has other European bases in Barcelona and Rome.

The strike call is separate from industrial action elsewhere in France over the government’s controversial pension reforms.

Read more: France's pension reforms largely approved as referendum rejected

Regarding that, more nationwide disruption is expected across the transport sector in the coming days, especially on May 1, which is the Fête du Travail (the day on which unions march every year).

The CGT union has also called for strikes on April 28 and more could be planned after France’s highest constitutional authority, the Conseil constitutionnel, on Wednesday (May 3) reveals its decision over whether to hold a referendum on the pension reforms.

What if my Vueling flight is affected?

The Vueling website has advice for any affected passengers. It said those impacted will be contacted as soon as possible and offered four alternatives.

These include changing to another flight, getting an instant ‘refund’ in the form of a flight voucher, requesting a cash refund, or finding alternative transport to your destination.

It advises that people affected not go to the airport (especially if their flight is cancelled and/or they do not want an alternative flight), and to instead manage their booking on the Vueling Manage my booking area.

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