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French Air Traffic Controllers Strike.. Again!

Posted on 21st June 2016 at 9:09am

Holidaymakers Believe French Air Traffic Controllers Should Be Banned From Striking.

French Air Traffic Controllers StrikeIn the past seven years, the French Air Traffic Controllers have gone on strike a record 50 times. The latest strike which also included pilots Europe wide on the 14th June 2016 caused massive travel chaos, especially with some of the flights carrying supporters to Euro 2016 in France.

The strike action in the past month has seen thousands of flights being cancelled and tens of thousands of people being delayed, stranded or having to abandon their holiday. But why are the French air traffic controllers going on strike?

The French air traffic controllers are currently striking over a dispute about staffing and safety standards. They are protesting as part of a national campaign, which involves other transport workers, teachers, and broadcast staff at plans by the government to relax the 35-hour week and other worker benefits.

The strike action is aimed at causing maximum disruption at a time when the majority of holidaymakers are taking to the skies. Ryanair has called the latest strike shocking.

Ryanair has called the unions selfish and would like to see action taken against them to stop them from striking and causing the distribution to thousands of flights and passengers. They are not alone with their frustration.

Small Survey by UKACP

While stranded at Alicante airport in Spain due to the strikes, one of our team asked 200 passengers how they felt about the action taken by the air traffic controllers. We asked them if they felt air traffic controllers should be like police officers and the army and be banned from striking.

171 passengers said they should be banned from striking, showing the French air traffic controllers they don’t have the public on side.

We also asked the people we surveyed if they knew why the air traffic controllers were on strike, and only 22 of those 200 people knew. That shows, even though the air traffic controllers are winning by causing as much disruption as they possibly can, they are failing in their battle to gain support and letting people know what the action is all about.

Some passengers we spoke to said they would like to see firm action taken against the air traffic controllers like President Ronald Reagan did in 1981. Thirteen thousand controllers went on strike after talks with the Federal Aviation Administration failed.

The strike caused more than 7,000 flights to be cancelled leaving mass disruption. The President gave the order to return back to work, which was ignored, so he decided to fire more than 11,000 of them and some of the passengers we spoke to would like to see the French Government take the same action as President Reagan did.


Ryanair has called on the European Commission to ban air traffic controllers from being allowed to strike; this is echoed by other airlines including Easyjet.

Robin Kiely, head of communications at Ryanair, said: “It’s grossly unfair that thousands of ordinary European consumers have their travel and holiday plans disrupted by the actions of a selfish few.”

Ryanair and other airlines would like to see other air traffic controllers in Europe take over the duties of their French counterparts when they go on strike, something many aviation airports believe will not happen.

The French air traffic controllers have not announced as yet any more strike action, but it’s believed more disruptions are to follow. Some aviation experts believe this could include the forth-coming bank holiday weekend.

Holidaymakers are being warned if they plan to go abroad over the next months to keep checking the media and their airline to see if any strike action is to take place. It is also important to keep in contact with their airline if flights are cancelled to find out when the next available flights are available.
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