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French strikes add to economic woes

Thursday, April 09, 2015 - 01:50

A second day of strikes is causing heavy delays at French airports, as air traffic controllers protest over work conditions. It's the latest round of industrial action hurting the country's already fragile economy. Hayley Platt reports.

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Another day of disruption for passengers flying in and out of France. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled as air traffic controllers walk out for a second day over working conditions. The strike called by the SNCTA union has affected around 40 percent of flights including those of easyJet, Ryanair and Air France. Short-haul flights have been the most affected. Airline shares held steady but that could change says Admiral Market's Darren Sinden. (SOUNDBITE) DARREN SINDEN, MARKET RESEARCH AND CLIENT RELATIONS MANAGER AT ADMIRAL MARKETS, SAYING: "If it were to progress and go on for longer than just 48 hours then there would generally be concern. We've already seen some weaker passenger numbers from easyJet earlier in the week. So airlines are generally are under a good deal of scrutiny here in Europe." The strike comes as other French unions ramp up the pressure over austerity measures. Workers at the country's state radio station, Radio France, have been on strike for almost three weeks - the longest-ever protest in its history. They're angry over cuts to the service and job losses. Unions are also holding a nationwide anti-austerity protest, to try and muster support. It follows news that the country's already fragile economy is only expected to grow by 1 percent this year. Further strikes - adding to a long list of headaches for Francois Hollande's unpopular Socialist government. (SOUNDBITE) DARREN SINDEN, MARKET RESEARCH AND CLIENT RELATIONS MANAGER AT ADMIRAL MARKETS, SAYING: "They have a high welfare dependancy culture in France that has to be paid for and it's very difficult to square that circle." Despite the protests, Hollande's government has vowed to carry on with its package of austerity. It wants to shave a total of 50 billion euros off its initial spending projections by 2017.

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French strikes add to economic woes

Thursday, April 09, 2015 - 01:50