France’s Air Traffic Controllers to Strike September 15

Get ready for more flight disruptions in Europe. Air traffic controllers in France are set to go on strike September 15 as their main union—Le Syndicat National des Contrôleurs du Trafic Aérien (SNCTA)—is fighting for a compensatory revaluation based on rising inflation.

“The SNCTA cannot accept that the work of air traffic controllers and the public air navigation service be devalued year after year,” the group said in a statement. “After several months of unanswered discussions, the SNCTA calls for a strike on Friday, September 15, 2023. It demands that the public authorities (including the Directorate General for Civil Aviation; DGAC) keep their commitments.”

The strike happens to coincide with the Rugby World Cup, taking place in France from September 8 to October 23, 2023. Venues for the event are located in Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Bordeaux, Saint-Étienne, Nice, Nantes and Toulouse.

The union has previously won an “extensive battle,” according to Le Monde, against pension reform. After a strike, the union won its right to retire at the age of 59, while air traffic controllers, pilots and cabin crew maintained their special pension programs. On the heels of these victories, Le Monde reports “the organization stands a solid chance of amassing a substantial following.”

In a report released in August by SNCTA, for the first time since 2019, daily traffic in France exceeded the 11,000 controlled flight mark several days this summer, thus entering the 20 busiest weeks in history alongside the records set in 2017 to 2019. It added: “With traffic and revenue growing sustainably, DSNA (France’s air navigation services department) must have the means to prepare for the future without devaluing performance.”

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