Airlines should not have to fight French air traffic controllers’ strike alone
Governments also need to apply political pressure on France to resolve this mess
Holidaymakers across Europe have ended up as pawns in an entrenched industrial relations dispute in France, where they neither reside nor intend to holiday. It seems extremely unfair. Photograph: Getty Images
There is more misery in store this weekend for many holidaymakers flying to or over France. Air traffic controllers there are on strike for the second successive weekend, with the bases of Lyon, Nice and Marseilles among those affected.
Flights from Ireland directly to those three southern French cities are most likely to be cancelled. The strikers have specifically targeted these areas, however, for the ancillary impact on holidaymakers on other over-flights.
The three affected cities form, in effect, an aerial gateway to the entire Mediterranean region from northern Europe. Many flights from Ireland, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands must pass over the south of France to get to the main tourists hotspots in Spain and Portugal.
Holidaymakers across the continent have ended up as pawns in an entrenched industrial relations dispute in a country – France – where they neither reside nor intend to holiday. It seems extremely unfair.
European airlines, most notably Ryanair and IAG, are understandably furious, and are launching legal action against the French state over the “unjustified” strikes.
Aggrieved workers in organised industrial sectors, especially in France, are always liable to strike. That their actions are causing disruption is precisely the aim. The more that airlines kick up a fuss, the happier the strikers will be.
It is the French government that has most questions to answer here. Why has it allowed the situation to deteriorate to such an extent that it is affecting citizens all over Europe? How has this been allowed to drag on?
The airlines should not be left on their own to bring legal pressure to bear on France, which is showing a huge disregard for the citizens of its neighbours. Governments also need to apply political pressure to their French counterparts to resolve this mess.