Paris airport workers to strike days before 2024 Summer Olympics

Laurie Baratti

Unions representing workers at Paris airports jointly announced today plans to strike on July 17th, just days before the opening of the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics, over a dispute over staff bonus payments and working conditions.

The CGT, CFDT, FO and UNSA unions are calling for the strike to demand that all airport employees receive their Olympic bonuses, as well as additional resources during the busy travel period. According to CBS News, they are protesting “the CEO's unilateral decision to pay bonuses to only some employees.”

On May 19, unions at the ADP Group, which runs Paris' two main airports, Orly and Charles de Gaulle, also went on strike, but there were no major disruptions to traffic.

But the strike could have a significant impact as Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports are the main entry points for foreign tourists and athletes travelling to the Paris Olympics, with up to 350,000 people expected to pass through those airports per day during the games, including athletes who will be checking most of their sports equipment in their carry-on luggage.

The Olympic Village is scheduled to open on July 18, when thousands of athletes will begin arriving. A new temporary terminal has been set up at Charles de Gaulle airport to accommodate oversized luggage containing kayaks, bikes, pole vaulting poles and other equipment.

By comparison, another recent strike involving air traffic controllers at Orly airport (France's second-busiest) canceled more than 70 percent of flights over a weekend in May, according to France 24. This was the second strike in a month-long period, the first of which led to the cancellation of thousands of flights across Europe.

Airport staff are not the only ones feeling the pressure and, as a result, demanding extra pay. Across the country, unions representing all kinds of public servants are demanding extra pay and support for work during the Paris Olympics, which run from July 26 to August 11 and overlap with France's traditional summer vacation period.

These demands are being made by people from various walks of life including police, firefighters, air traffic controllers, garbage collectors, subway and train operators, central government officials etc. Workers are using the proximity of this major international event to their advantage and are pressuring their employers to meet their demands to avoid any disruptions.

Even workers at the National Mint, responsible for manufacturing Olympic medals, went on strike, though management says production of these coveted prizes will not be affected.

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