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Around 10% of all flights departing from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) were canceled due to ground staff strikes on Thursday and similar disruptions are expected on Friday, an operator spokesperson said. ADP airport.
Due to the expected protests, he added, road traffic leading to CDG could be disrupted on Friday and recommended travelers take a train from Paris to the airport.
The spokesman said Orly airport south of Paris was not affected by the walkout, which was called in a dispute over wages and benefits.
As air traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels, the hardline CGT union and others want serious pay rises to offset runaway inflation, which hit a record high of 6.5% in France in June . The CGT is calling for a general salary increase of 300 euros per month for all staff.
The workers’ demands come as airlines struggle to recruit staff after massively cutting staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The DGAC on Friday asked airlines to cancel one in six flights between 7:00 a.m. local time (05:00 GMT) and 2:00 p.m. Airport operator ADP expects around 10% of flights to be canceled on Friday.
On Thursday, only ADP workers were on strike, but on Friday staff from airlines, contractors and other airport-related businesses are expected to join in.
A first strike at Paris airport on June 9 – involving 1,500 strikers, according to the CGT – led to the cancellation of 20% of morning flights at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle.
“Wages must increase, not by two or three percent but by 15 to 20 percent,” said Loris Foreman, a ground handling agent at the main international airport in Paris, on the eve of the walkout.
“When you start at 5 a.m. or work irregular hours all the time, it leads to burnout, and right now many airport workers are on sick leave due to depression. “, he added.
Last month, Foreman took home €1,770 net, but he said it no longer allowed him to live comfortably as inflation eroded his wages.
He now has to scour supermarkets for food specials – showing three tubs of cream in his fridge and a shoulder of lamb in his freezer – and never fills his car’s fuel tank to the top, did he declare.
A strike upsets travelers, Foreman acknowledged, but added he had no choice.
“Yes, we know we are taking passengers hostage, but we have to make our voices heard and the only way to do that is to go on strike,” he said.
Several European airlines and airports have experienced strikes in recent weeks and further travel disruptions are expected next month as airline workers make use of high travel demand and staff shortages caused in part by the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19 to push for higher wages and better working conditions.
Airports in cities like London, Amsterdam, Rome and Frankfurt have faced flight cancellations and long queues.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)