France Tightens Rules on Striking For Air Traffic Controllers

France Tightens Rules on Striking For Air Traffic Controllers
Eric Salard, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

It has been revealed this week that France has tightened the rules on strike action for air traffic controllers, after a year of chaos in the country for travel.

Airlines for Europe have said that 11 million passengers were impacted by such strike action in 2023, and called on the European Commission to create smoother and seamless travel options for passengers.

Without further ado, let’s get into it…

France Tightens Rules on Striking For Air Traffic Controllers…

France Tightens Rules on Striking For Air Traffic Controllers
Alex Beltyukov – RuSpotters Team, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL 1.2, via Wikimedia Commons

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As per rfi, the new rules means that air traffic controllers must individually declare their intention to strike no later than noon two days before the planned industrial action.

Previously, the rules was five days in advance but they didn’t have to declare such industrial action individually, which highlights the tightening of rules.

Such a tightening of the rules also closes any loopholes in such strike action, which the French Government will argue that it should minimise a lot of the disruption.

The unions have come out and criticised the reforms, arguing that it is removing their ability to strike effectively.

Over the course of this year, more than 4,000 flights have been cancelled and 24,000 delayed due to strike action.

Most of the 67 air traffic controller strike days took place in France, which has caused condemnation from the likes of Ryanair, who have been vocal against such action in the past.

Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, emphasizes the urgency of addressing the issue. O’Leary urges Ursula von der Leyen to take specific actions to mitigate the impact of ATC strikes:

  1. Respect the strike rights of ATC unions
  2. Protect 100% of flights overflying strike-affected countries
  3. Require 21-day advance notice of ATC strikes
  4. Require 72-hour advance notice of participation in ATC strikes

O’Leary highlights the unjust circumstances faced by passengers, emphasizing the need for a fair distribution of cancellations during national strikes.

The plea is not against the right to strike but urges the EU Commission to ensure that cancellations primarily affect flights within the striking nation, not those merely overflying.

All eyes will be on how 2024 will look like for such disruption in France, and will be a good test to see whether the reforms will work.

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