A bill to change the way French airline workers can call strikes
which is working its way through the French Parliament has sparked
a four-day strike on the part of airline pilots and flight
attendants. The strike began Monday.
In the legislation, airline union workers would be required to
give 48 hours notice before walking off the job. It is patterned
after similar rules covering unionized French railway workers.
Government leaders say that the notice gives airlines time to make
and put in place contingency plans, according to reports in both
the Associated Press and Reuters.
But Union officials say that the rules essentially make strikes
meaningless. If the airline can operate normally while workers are
out on strike, the effectiveness of the action is greatly reduced.
UPI reports that union officials also are upset that the Transport
Ministry reportedly rejected union-suggested amendments to the
The measure has passed the lower house of the French Parliament,
and is under consideration in the Senate. The labor action is
expected to run through Thursday. Air France says it will be forced
to reduce its domestic European flights by 20 percent, and its
long-haul routes by 15 percent. Passengers who are affected by the
strike will not be charged change fees to reschedule their
Pilots' union vice president Philippe Vivier told Reuters that
the current labor action is just the beginning, and that more are
planned during February, though firm dates had not been