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If you’re planning a festive trip to France, be aware: union cabin crew at Air France may be going on strike from 22 December 2022 to 2 January 2023.
French unions Union des Navigants de L’Aviation Civile (UNAC) and Syndicat des Navigants du Groupe Air France (SNGAF) have warned that industrial action could take place over the Christmas and New Year period, amid a dispute over working conditions.
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The unions have filed a strike notice, after the Collective Agreement between staff and management — first put in place in 1999, and being renegotiated this autumn — was not extended when it expired in October 2022.
In a nutshell: without the Collective Agreement, the airline has the final say over cabin crew and flight staff’s work schedules.
The major sticking point for unions, says a report by Le Monde, is the ratio of cabin crew to passengers on long-haul flights. One flight attendant to every 48 passengers was the norm, but Air France initially wanted to see the latter number rise to 51, reportedly for profitability.
The airline has since dropped its ask down to 50 passengers per cabin crew member.
Related: Are you entitled to compensation if your flight is affected by strikes?
Simple Flying also notes that salary plays a role in the dispute, especially if the new ratio comes into force — though some 38,000 cabin crew, pilots and ground staff for Air France received a 1,000 EUR bonus and 5% pay rise in September this year.
Air France has said it had ‘taken note of the strike notice’ — though added in a statement that negotiations on reinstating the Collective Agreement are due to continue beyond January 2023.
Of course, if your flight is affected by the strike action, if it does indeed go ahead – you’ll be entitled to a full refund and maybe even compensation.
Strikes affecting flights to and from France aren’t news to regular travellers. Around 50% of French flights were cancelled on 16 September this year (a reported 1,000+), as air traffic controllers took industrial action over pay and working conditions.
Related: Doors, wireless charging and 4K video: A first look at Air France’s new Boeing 777 business class
Walkouts have been commonplace across Europe in recent months, with a variety of air travel strikes hitting Spain, Portugal, Italy and others, on top of countless U.K. train strikes affecting travel.
All that said, some walkouts have been avoided, too. A strike planned by British Airways ground staff at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) was narrowly averted in July, while Scandinavian airline SAS and German carrier Lufthansa struck deals with pilots in September amid union discussions.
Featured image by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy
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