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French aviation unions to strike over plan to curb airport industrial action

Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

French trade unions say they will do everything they can to stop a bill which would impose new conditions on strikes in the aviation sector from being passed into law.


They plan to hold a week of action from 6-10th of February to protest against the proposals which were approved in the French lower house of parliament early on Wednesday morning.

If the bill becomes law, no aviation union would be able to declare a strike without first entering into talks with management to try to avert such action.

In the event of strike action, each striker would be obliged to sign a confidential individual declaration of their intent to strike 48 hours before the day of action, in order to allow management to make plans for customers.

The system was introduced for rail and busworkers in 2007.

The bill was overwhelmingly backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party, many of whom loudly criticised strike action by airport security workers in December, which left many people stranded at airports.

Sarkozy denounced what he called “taking travellers hostage” and ordered the deployment of police officers to do security checks.

Trade unions insist that if the new law is passed, it will soon become generalised and apply to other sectors.

Employment minister Xavier Bertrand says the government is assuming its responsibilities and doing what passengers want.

The bill now goes to the Senate, which has a left-wing majority.

The government is using a special procedure to speed up the passage of the bill, in the hope that it will be passed before parliament is suspended for the presidential elections.



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