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French Air Traffic Controllers Protest Against Anti-Protest Laws Passed by French Parliament

Flights departing from airports across France were canceled on November 20 as air traffic controllers conducted a one-day strike. The strikes happened after the French Parliament passed a bill to restrict air traffic controllers' ability to go on strike on November 15. ( More...

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R Bir 16
I was a controller in the 1981 ATC strike but stayed on the job. My first vacation after the strike was to Europe where my return to the U.S. was delayed by -- a French ATC strike.
Joe Keifer 2
I wasn't a controller but in Airway Facilities and I learned how to handle flight strips pretty well. Those were the days!
R Bir 2
It was definitely a team effort back then. I eventually moved over to automation. Center automation became part of AF in the '90s. A good group to work with.
D Kaufman 1
Some organization in the French air industry are always striking. If you 'really' have to get to your destination on time, don't fly through Paris.
John Graham 4
Ok. Passengers should go on strike then. Maybe that will get some results
Manny Reyes 3
This strike caused a rolling delay with our Air France flight from Lyon, France to Paris CDG on Nov. 20. What started as a 30 minute delayed departure turned into a 2 hour wait on the tarmac as air traffic controllers in Paris punished our flight for failing to depart within 30 minutes of schedule. I believed we were allowed to depart after 2 hours only because more than half of the passengers on the plane would miss their connection at CDG.
avionik99 9
Common sense tells you they should not have the ability to strike. Its like the military going on strike or the police, its a matter of public safety. I remember what Reagan did when the controllers went on strike in the US. He rightfully fired them!
sparkie624 7
I have found that "Common Sense" is not nearly as "Common" as it used to be!
matt jensen 1
common sense now has to be taught
Ian Murray 2
agreed, but are (some) people willing to be taught.
R Bir 4
The choice to strike in France is a constitutional right.
btweston 1
Why? Because people should just do whatever you want?
Robert Fleury 2
If things have not changed, the problem in France is that any controller can choose the union he wants to be represented by. It is a little more complicated than that but in Canada for example, the Rand Formula basically says that you will pay dues to one union, whether you want to be its member or not and that the government will negotiate with one and one only union. But above all, in strike situation, one has to see if the demands are legitimate or not. Considering the dismal state of technical equipment in the ATC units in the US in 1973, the strike by PATCO was definitively legit.
R Bir 1
I was there before and after the PATCO strike. Not legit.
Robert Fleury 1
Obviously, you don't know what you're talking about:
1) the airways were saturated, but the FAA did not want to bear the odium and financial prosecutions from users following the implementation of a national flow control plan that would cause loss of privileges;
2) several airlines maintained flights with occupancy rates below the break-even point because they did not want to give up gate privileges to competition and without compensation;
3) after PATCO, Reagan was going to have to negotiate with very powerful unions like the Teamsters and the idea of setting an example is not excluded.
As a result, large-scale flow control restrictions were implemented justified by the strike, airlines could cut back on non profitable flights without penalties, airport authorities do not have to pay compensation to airlines for unoccupied gates, and the message is very strong to the unions.
Everyone was happy except the controllers, of course.
One must be naïve however to think that you are going to lay off 85% (11,000/13,000) of a highly skilled workforce and hope that in a short time the system will be working normally. What history doesn't tell is the number of controllers (estimated at 8000 for some) who returned to work without making too much noise and the government's honeyed promises to bring them back. The government did not call in the military. After the March 5, 1973 midair collision in France, everyone had learned his lesson.
Beyond the significant damage caused to the world of aviation by Reagan's blunt decision, it is the damage to the union cause that is most permanent to date. Because after all, what the controllers wanted was:
…they were initially motivated by the desire to make the system safer and to have a voice in policies that would do this — this was something that their employer, the Federal Aviation Administration resisted.”
But it turned out that:
One of the most devastating and harmful moments in the history of labor unions was what happened with the PATCO strikes…
Even though before he was elected, Reagan had said:
“my administration will work very closely with you to bring about a spirit of cooperation between the president and the air traffic controllers.”

Sure? See the rest…

This, of course, gave PATCO hope and they would end up endorsing Ronald Reagan for president of the United States. However, when Reagan was elected, there was a lot of pressure from the right wing to handle the situation with PATCO in a way that would damage labor unions as a whole.
Seek more information before making such statement.

Ronald Reagan’s Impact on Labor Unions | by Hannah Mueller | The Future of Labor Unions | Medium
R Bir 1
Yes, the strike had a devastating effect on labor relations.

However, PATCO misinterpreted Reagan's noncommittal, form letter responding to a campaign donation as an approval of PATCO's strike intentions. The letter was, of course, not that at all. PATCO mishandled the entire affair, didn't reach out to other airline industry unions, turned down multiple efforts by former Secretaries of Labor to reach some sort of compromise that would get striking controllers back to work.

I remember the union president declaring to members that striking controllers were irreplaceable and would have no choice but to submit to union demands.
Brian De Jong 1
And look at how grand things are today! PBI-TEB routed over western Tennessee due to ATC staffing. ATC is a travesty.
R Bir 1
The union demanded a signifcant pay increase and a 4-day week. If the strike had been successful current conditions would be worse. Full controller staffing would be 20% higher than currently, putting the FAA ineven worse shape than it is, with 20% more seats to fill.

That said, the strike 42 years ago has absolutely nothing to do with what is going on now.

No idea why that cited flight was diverted but the percentage of flights arrving at their destination on time in 2023 is the same as it was in 2014 (75%).
The French were born to revolt.

R Bir 1
As is the U.S. We've had 200 labor strikes since 2010.
Michael Dealey 1
I don't know the particulars of what the ATCers are striking over but instead of passing bills banning their protests, perhaps the government should address their concerns. A piece of paper isn't going to keep people from walking out.


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