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French PM defends use of police in airport strike

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French PM defends use of police in airport strike


Thursday has seen delays at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, but this time no cancellations.

More than 250 police and gendarmes were brought in to carry out checks on passengers, on the seventh day of a security staff strike that has caused serious disruption.

No fewer than three ministers were sent to Paris airport to oversee the operation to deploy them.

“Today we’ve deployed police at Roissy to do the job of security and surveillance work,” said the Prime Minister François Fillon, during a visit to northern France. “Everyone must understand that we cannot take passengers hostage during the Christmas season, it’s just unacceptable.”

Unions demonstrated at the airport against the refusal by employers to agree to demands for pay rises of up to 200 euros a month, as well as better conditions.

“Instead of finding a solution to the conflict, they send in police to replace the unfortunate security officers who went on strike,” said Frédéric Delamarre of the CGT Brinks union.

“Whether it is the police or the people whose job it is normally, it does not bother me,” said one middle-aged male passenger.

“As long as I have my flight and I can go home for Christmas, it’s fine,” said a young female traveller.

Talks were suspended on Thursday but are set to continue. French airport unions are planning more action in the near future to protest against government plans to regulate strikes.

Meanwhile, the fallout from a Belgian transport strike stretched to London, where Eurostar trains to Brussels have been forced to terminate at Lille in northern France.

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