Xavier Bertrand raises his voice. The president of the Hauts-de-France region criticized the Minister for Transport, Clément Beaune, of “squandering taxpayers’ money”. At issue: the agreement reached on Tuesday between the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) and the main air traffic controllers union, under the leadership of the government.
The air traffic controllers, very inclined to strike in recent years, have committed through their majority union (60%) to a truce of more than a year on the social front, including the entire period of the Olympic Games and Paris 2024 Paralympics. A notice period for Friday was also lifted. The mobilization and resulting disruptions promised to be massive.
“The notice was lifted because an agreement was reached. I ask Mr. Beaune to reveal what is in this agreement which, today, is completely secret,” denounced Xavier Bertrand, on Cnews, this Thursday. And hammering: “What is in this agreement? How much did it cost? Because it’s the taxpayer’s money.” Contacted, the minister's office has so far not responded.
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Beyond the sole case of air traffic controllers, the former candidate for the right-wing primary was concerned about the blackmail of certain unions in the transport sector before the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. “There is today unions, certain coordinations, which are preparing to, on the eve of the Olympics, request maximum progress for them,” he warned. In response to the union maneuvers, Xavier Bertrand called for going a step further than the “minimum service” – which he himself had put in place in 2007 in his previous role as Minister of Labor.
“If we want to protect the State, taxpayers' money, the French who take transport and essential public services, we must move now, as in Italy, towards a law on guaranteed service,” argued the LR. Italian law prevents certain professions, notably in transport, from striking on certain dates: from August 10 to 20, from December 23 to January 7, five days before Easter and three days after, and during elections. Like Xavier Bertrand, Renaissance MP Karl Olive recently defended the idea of preventing strikes before major international events.