April 2, 2018 / 11:32 AM / 10 months ago

Strike-hit Air France expects 75 percent of flights to operate, as rail stoppage looms

FILE PHOTO - A passenger arrives at the Air France check in at Nice airport as Air France pilots, cabin and ground crews unions call for a one-day strike over salaries in France, March 30, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

PARIS (Reuters) - Air France said it expected to operate around 75 percent of its flights on Tuesday, the first day of a strike that will coincide with a larger stoppage on the rail network, paralyzing much of France’s transport network.

The flag carrier’s unions have called for action on Tuesday and on April 7 and plan further walkouts on April 10 and 11, over demands for a 6 percent wage increase that management has rejected.

Meanwhile French commuters are bracing for chaos from Monday evening as a series of rolling nationwide rail strikes get under way that nearly half of unionized staff have indicated they will join.

The rail strike, due to run for three months in successive waves of two days, is expected to be the biggest test yet of President Emmanuel Macron’s ability to push through wide-ranging labor and economic reforms.

SNCF said it expected only one in eight of its high-speed trains expected to run on Tuesday.

The Air France strike, organized separately, is expected to ground 30 percent of the carrier’s long-haul flights out of Paris’s main Charles de Gaulle airport, it said.

About 67 percent of its medium-haul flights would operate and 85 percent of short-haul ones.

Air France said more than 32 percent of its pilots, 20 percent of cabin crew and 15 percent of ground staff were expected to join the strike.

Reporting by Bate Felix; editing by John Stonestreet

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