France was facing new labour action from pilots unions on Thursday, as train traffic was disrupted and trash piled up in Paris with waste treatment centres on strike, all on the eve of the European football championship.
Twenty to 30 per cent of Air France flights were to be cancelled on Saturday due to a pilots strike, the airline's chief Frederic Gagey said. Negotiations between management and three pilot unions broke down this week, and the unions had warned of strikes from June 11-14 if talks on working conditions and restructuring failed.
At the same time, national rail operator SNCF's strike that started June 1 continued to disrupt train traffic, leaving some 40 per cent of regional trains out of service.
Waste treatment centres around Paris were also on strike, blocking trash collection and prompting piles of refuse to collect on pavements.
President Francois Hollande demanded an end to the disruption and appealed to the strikers to take responsibility for their actions.
"It is essential that those taking part in the movements or organizing them assume their responsibility," Hollande said Tulle, where he previously served as mayor.
Hosting a successful football championship was dependant on the "responsibility of all," the president said.
In a swipe at protesters and strikers who have taken to France's streets in recent weeks, Hollande said "it is not their duty to establish obstructions for this great competition."
Sports Minister Patrick Kanner on Thursday blasted the strikes as "union guerilla" tactics.
He told France Inter radio: "It is spoiling the party and by spoiling the party, spoiling the image of France."
The rail strikes were also to affect fans travelling to the opening match between France and Romania at the Stade de France on Friday, leaving France captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris concerned.
"I hope it won't spoil the party. Competitions like this on French soil have to show a great image of our country," Lloris told a news conference.
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