The firefighters of Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle (CDG), the first French airport, have been on strike since Thursday, forcing the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC) to request preventive cancellations of flights: part of the runways must be closed for safety reasons.

These cancellations will affect one in five flights between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday departing from or arriving at CDG, a deterioration after one flight in six the day before and the day before, warned the administration.

On Friday, around a hundred aircraft movements out of 1,300 had been canceled at Roissy.

The other major airport in the Paris region, Orly, was not affected.

"The movement continues among the firefighters", who are "dissatisfied with the management's proposals" on their salary scale, declared Friday evening to AFP Daniel Bertone, the general secretary of the CGT of the ADP Group, the manager of the Paris airports.

On the same day, the firefighters were joined by other employees of ADP and subcontractors as part of an inter-union and inter-professional movement for wages and working conditions, the notice of which runs all week. -end.

According to Mr Bertone, new notices have also been tabled for next weekend, which will mark the start of the summer school holidays and traditionally sees a peak in attendance.

Planes on the tarmac seen from terminal 2E of Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle airport, May 12, 2020 ERIC PIERMONT AFP / Archives

Friday's negotiations, which did not succeed, concerned wages within Groupe ADP, which is majority-controlled by the state.

Tour operators fear 'the worst'

According to the CGT trade unionist, employees are demanding a 6% revaluation with retroactive effect from January 1, to compensate for inflation;

management proposed 4% by July 1, he said.

He noticed that this increase did not catch up with the approximately 5% drop accepted by employees as part of the cost reduction plan decided by ADP in the face of the Covid-19 crisis in 2020-2021.

The management did not confirm the figures mentioned by the CGT, confining itself to conceding that "the negotiations were unsuccessful, but the social dialogue remains open".

In addition to the cancellations, the strike, affecting in particular the screening and handling inspection stations, resulted in "some delays" on Friday according to ADP.

Like the previous two days, Air France announced the cancellation of around 10% of its short and medium-haul flights on Saturday.

Long-haul flights will not be affected.

At the call of an inter-union FO-CGT-CFE-CGC, a strike notice was also filed from Friday to Monday in Marseille-Provence, but its management did not foresee either cancellation or delay, personnel having been requisitioned by decree prefectural.

In Ile-de-France airports, ADP invites passengers to arrive "three hours (before the flight) for an international flight" and "two hours for a domestic or European flight".

The government will "continue to exchange with the unions to find a way out of the crisis", assured Olivia Grégoire, spokesperson for the government, on Friday.

"The idea that our compatriots cannot go on vacation is not viable," she added.

The day before, associations of tour operators had estimated that the disruptions at airports in recent weeks "raise fears of the worst for the holidays and travel of French men and women".

Gathering of strikers in front of Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport, July 1, 2022 BERTRAND GUAY AFP

Eurocontrol, the body for monitoring air traffic on the Old Continent, estimates that it could return in August to up to 95% of its 2019 level, before the health crisis which divided attendance by three in 2020.

However, the summer promises to be very difficult for the sector, which is struggling to regain its operational efficiency after the pandemic and is experiencing many social movements, within companies and airport facilities.

© 2022 AFP

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