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Air France, French railway hit by more strikes

Air France CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac, who will put a pay offer to a vote of employees
Air France CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac, who will put a pay offer to a vote of employees REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Air France expects to cancel 25 percent of flights on Tuesday, the second day of a two-day strike this week, which is part of a series of stoppages for higher pay. A simultaneous strike on the railways saw trains cancelled. Meanwhile, police cleared student activists occupying building at two universities.


Thirty percent of long-haul flights were expected to be cancelled on Tuesday, following 35 percent on Monday, with 35 percent of medium-haul flights from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and 20 percent of short-haul flights from Paris Orly and regional airports also scrapped.

Periodic strikes have hit the company since 22 February with unions rejecting a two percent wage rise for 2018, following by five percent of the following three years.

Company boss Jean-Marc Janaillac has decided to undercut the unions by putting the offer to a vote of all employees at the end of April.

Rail strike support row

Meanwhile, strikes at France's state-owned rail company, the SNCF, continued on Monday and Tuesday with intercity and TGV high-speed trains cancelled and the Paris regional transport network also hit.

Although as many SNCF employees took part in this fifth two-day as the previous one, the company insists it is losing support.

Unions contested that claim, accusing management of fiddling the figures.

French President Emmanuel Macron took time to insist he would not back down in an interview with the US's Fox News ahead of meeting President Emmanuel Macron.

Police clear campuses

Police moved onto the campus of Montpellier University, in the south of France, early on Monday morning to end a two-month occupation in protest at Macron's proposed changes to university access.

They met no resistance since most students had left for holidays.

Officials described the operation as an "inquiry" into damage caused and possible support for vandalism during demonstrations in the city.

At the same time police in Grenoble, in the French Alps, removed about 40 students occupying a building where lectures and exams were due to take place.

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