The main French air traffic controllers' union pledged on Tuesday not to call a strike between now and September 2024, at the end of the sequence of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, one of its officials announced. The principle of this “Olympic truce” accepted by the SNCTA union had previously been communicated by the Minister for Transport Clément Beaune.
A little earlier, two French air traffic controller unions, including the majority organization, announced on Tuesday that they had lifted their strike notice for Friday, an agreement having been reached with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC). “End of conciliation: an agreement has been reached, the SNCTA lifts its notice,” declared the first union of air traffic controllers on its website. A spokesperson for the DGAC then confirmed this agreement, no details of which were immediately disclosed. The union of air navigation control engineers UNSA-ICNA, which had also filed a strike notice for Friday at the end of August, has also lifted it, its general secretary told AFP on Tuesday.
Clément Beaune praised “the spirit of responsibility and dialogue which allowed the signing” of this “balanced” agreement to end the conflict. “Discussions on the social protocol for the period 2024-2027 will continue in the coming months with the objective of accelerating the transformation of air traffic control to strengthen its quality and productivity,” indicated the Ministry of Transport in a communicated. “In the context of the Rugby World Cup, the minister welcomes the lifting of the strike notice, which will allow the competition to take place peacefully,” adds the press release.
The SNCTA had announced “a national strike notice covering all air traffic controllers and traffic monitoring agents on Friday September 15, 2023 from the start of morning service to the end of night service”. The SNCTA and the UNSA-ICNA demanded salary catch-up in the face of inflation. Denouncing “the silence of the DGAC”, the SNCTA recalled that “French air traffic control, like all European service providers, is governed by European performance plans which provide for compensation for inflation via a corresponding adjustment of the royalty rate, and therefore revenue.
Numerous days of air traffic controller strikes at the start of the year, during the retirement bill, led the DGAC to ask airlines to preventively cancel part of their flights. The strikes had angered the airlines which serve France or pass through its airspace, the most flown over in Europe. The Airlines for Europe (A4E) association, which defends the interests of major carriers based on the Old Continent, including Ryanair, easyJet, Air France, Lufthansa and British Airways, called on the European Commission in May to establish a “ compulsory arbitration” before a strike or the “protection of overflights” of the country affected by a social movement.
Also on Tuesday, the Usac-CGT air traffic controllers union, at the forefront in the spring in the mobilization against pension reform, announced that it was calling for a strike by DGAC agents on October 13 as part of a national day of action. inter-union “against austerity, for the increase in wages, pensions and for the fight against inequalities”.