News ID: 153010
Published: 0720 GMT June 11, 2016

Air France joins French strikes

Air France joins French strikes

Air France pilots join embarrassing train, garbage strikes. About a quarter of Air France pilots began a four-day strike on Saturday to demand better working conditions — the latest challenge to travelers and France's image as it hosts Europe's biggest sporting event.

Up to a fifth of flights were canceled Saturday, Air France said, both domestic and international. Among those affected were flights carrying spectators to cities holding European Championship soccer tournament matches, AP reported.

Unions plan to keep up the strike through Tuesday, demanding better pay and more flight hours.

French train drivers have also been on strike for days, and garbage collectors, too.

They're striking for different reasons, but it's all part of a nationwide discontent as the government tries to change laws regulating working hours and layoffs.

The influential CGT union may meet with the government over the weekend.

France was reveling in a victorious start to the Euro 2016 on Saturday after winning the opening match, but the strikes have threatened to disrupt travel for hundreds of thousands of fans.

Police were on high alert in the southern city of Marseille, where England and Russia supporters clashed and hurled bottles at officers in a second night of violence before their first game.

Industrial unrest, fears of terrorist attacks and devastating flooding have overshadowed the buildup to the month-long tournament.

Weeks of industrial action over government reforms to labor law had dampened the party atmosphere around the tournament, disrupting rail and metro services and leaving petrol pumps dry in many places.

Arriving fans have been confronted by stinking piles of rubbish left strewn on the streets of Paris and Marseille after strikers began blockading incineration plants.

The head of the CGT union Philippe Martinez, who is spearheading opposition to the labor market reforms being pushed by the government, has vowed not to be "blackmailed with the Euro".


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