Ireland fans travelling to Paris for the Rugby World Cup showdown with the All Blacks should not be badly affected by Air Traffic Control strikes planned for tomorrow.
All eight of France’s major unions have called a ‘General Strike’ for tomorrow, with workers across industries downing tools in a bid to win pay increases in response to increasing inflation.
Transport workers, teachers, doctors and civil servants are expected to participate en masse – with workers in the private sector urged to join them.
France’s national Air Traffic Control (ATC) union has not called a strike; however, some ATCs at regional airports are involved in the strike – which runs from this evening until 6am on Saturday morning.
France’s Civil Aviation Authority has said that ATCs working at Paris-Orly, Marseille-Provence and Beauvais airports will be taking part.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Air and Travel Editor Eoghan Corry said Irish fans are lucky the team is playing in Paris and not Marseille.
“The fact we're in Paris is a big deal,” he said. “The fact that Charles de Gaulle [Airport] won't be badly affected is a big deal.
“There is a bit of a problem. There are three unions - it's a little bit like Goldilocks and the three bowls - and the smallest of the three unions is the one that's calling this strike.
“They're looking for 15% of the flights to Beauvais to be cancelled.
“That is Ryanair's airport as listeners will know, but it looks like Ryanair are protecting the rugby flights – so they're not going to be affected as we speak.
“Orly is going to be affected and it does look like one of the charters into Orly may have to find somewhere else to go.
“The flights are going to be OK from where we're looking now.
“Not the same case in Marseille. Luckily, we're not in the other quarterfinal, which is being played in Marseille.”
Mr Corry said the weekend is looking “very manageable” for Irish fans.
“It couldn't have worked out better in terms of, you know, if you're going to have a strike, that we aren’t going to be badly affected at all," he said.
“Ryanair are quite confident that their fans won't be affected. So confident they put on four extra flights going out on Saturday so that anybody who needs to move times around and things like that, there are flights there for them.
“Stena Line also has an offer of €300 for cars going over so all of that's there for the people who need to work around.”
The unions behind the General Strike say it will align with action in other countries.
“Purchasing power and increases in wages, pensions and minimum social benefits are still the demands of the working world,” said inter-union spokespeople in a shared statement posted on social media.
It is the second national day of action involving all eight unions this year – following on from the pension protests.
Joined-up action amongst the unions has been rare in France up until now.
It is also unusual for the strike to be held on a Friday instead of the traditional days of Tuesdays or Thursdays.
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