French air traffic controllers threaten to strike ahead of Rugby World Cup

Flights to and from France may be subject to delays and cancellations due to the upcoming strike organized by the air traffic controllers’ union in the country, which has strategically booked the protest timings to coincide with the Rugby World Cup.


The SNCTA union called on workers to conduct a nationwide strike on two crucial Fridays – September 15 and October 13, local media reports. The first protest will coincide with the Rugby World Cup, which is due to draw thousands of people to France. The action could trigger havoc in airports as flight cancellations are a real possibility including an impact on flights from other countries that cross French airspace.

The strike on 15 September coincides with the New Zealand vs Namibia game at Stadium de Toulouse, followed by Samoa vs Chile at Stade de Bordeaux, and Wales vs Portugal at Stade de Nice. People travelling in advance to see Ireland vs Tonga at Stade de la Beaujoire on 16 September could also be affected. While there are no matches on 28 October, the walkout could impact fans travelling back from the final.

The union criticised the “silence of the civil aviation authority (Direction générale de l’Aviation civile, DGAC)” as inflation keeps rising and wages remain the same, or less. French air traffic controllers engage in strikes several times to protest against living conditions and remuneration. Their led-mass protests have led to mass flight cancellations starting in January, followed by further action in March and June.

Paris Metro workers have also threatened strike action during the Rugby World Cup, which runs from September 8 to October 28. While train drivers will receive a bonus in recognition of the additional services they must run during the event, station staff have not been offered additional pay, according to local media.

Members of trade union FO-RATP, which represents public transport workers in Paris, have threatened to walk out over the issue. However, negotiations are currently ongoing.