Air traffic controllers have filed a strike notice in the middle of the Rugby World Cup.

Departures information board at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport, September 16, 2022.

The return to air travel promises to be hectic. Air traffic controllers are urged to stop work on September 15. A 24-hour strike notice was filed on Monday, August 28 by the National Air Traffic Controllers Union (SNCTA), the leading air traffic controllers organization with over 60% of the vote, due to wage demands.

SNCTA asks: ” catch up with inflation and hold mandatory annual negotiations” by wages. According to him, the appeal to the strike is only a consequence “mutism of the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAK) ». SNCTA reminds “French air traffic control, like all European service providers, is guided by European action plans that provide for inflation compensation.” When questioned, the DGAC declined to comment.

It is no coincidence that this social movement intervenes immediately after returning from a long summer vacation. And in the middle of the Rugby World Cup there will be competitions organized in France from September 8 to October 28, during which several hundred thousand tourists and other fans are expected, most of whom must arrive in France by plane.

Airline problems

SNCTA, which points to the DGAC’s inaction on salary increases while “It was instructed to work out this issue by 2023 “, wants to apply pressure. An organization that has won a victory in a long social conflict against pension reform has a good chance of being followed. At the cost of mobilizing its troops for days on strike, the union won the battle against the DGAC and the government. In particular, he received a pension at the age of 59. In addition to air traffic controllers, pilots and flight attendants also managed to keep their retirement plans after careful negotiations.

This time, the air traffic controllers’ union is again giving its regulators time to react. The union acted in the same way a year ago when it was already negotiating a salary and recruitment agreement.

Read also: Airlines predict 4.35 billion passengers in 2023, nearly a 2019 record

The threat of a strike is likely to worry airlines. While traffic is returning to 2019 levels faster than expected, prior to the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, they fear a conflict that will punish their operations and have significant financial implications. Indeed, France, due to its geographical position, is the most populous country in Europe. In the event of a conflict, companies would have to cancel and delay flights or bypass France, which would mean refunding thousands of passengers or consuming more fuel.

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