kenya air france.jpg
Photograph: EPA/STR

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.

Latest news

Trump-style rhetoric is making world more dangerous, Amnesty says

Divisive and "poisonous" language used by politicians such as US President Donald Trump is putting vulnerable populations at risk and making the whole world a more dangerous place, Amnesty International charged on Wednesday.

Canada soon to begin resettling Iraqi refugees, most of them Yezidis

Canada will resettle 1,200 survivors of the Islamic State campaign to target religious minorities in northern Iraq, Canadian officials announced Tuesday. 

Breitbart editor resigns after release of paedophilia comments

Milo Yiannopoulos, a controversial editor at the far-right Breitbart news website, resigned Tuesday after the emergence of recordings in which he appears to defend sexual relationships between young boys and older men.

Trump administration opens door for mass deportations

The US Department of Homeland Security laid the groundwork Tuesday for mass deportations of immigrants living illegally in the United States under an executive order by President Donald Trump last month.

Brexit bill: House of Lords says public can change mind on leaving EU

The British public should be able to change their minds on Brexit - just as Prime Minister Theresa May did, the upper chamber of parliament heard Tuesday during a marathon debate on legislation to kick off EU negotiations.

Italian lawmakers, rights activists clash over gay sex club scandal

Gay rights activists and conservative politicians clashed Tuesday after the chief of Italy's anti-discrimination office quit over allegations that money had been authorized for gay sex clubs.

EU countries agree new rules to avoid tax evasion

European Union finance ministers in Brussels on Tuesday reached a political agreement on new rules to ensure that multinational corporations do not declare profits in the countries where they pay the least tax but in the countries where they generate it.

Trump condemns "horrible, painful" anti-Jewish incidents

US President Donald Trump condemned a recent spate of threats against Jewish community targets across the United States, during a visit Tuesday to the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

FinMin expects Croatia to exit Excessive Deficit Procedure this spring

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said on Tuesday Croatia could exit the Excessive Deficit Procedure this spring and that it was showing progress in correcting macroeconomic imbalances.

Austria seeks to create jobs, but new EU immigrants need not apply

Austria plans to create 160,000 jobs in the next three years by subsidizing companies, but the project has raised concerns because it effectively excludes people who recently immigrated from other EU countries.

Juncker: Not good for W. Balkans that some in Washington want to water down EU

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday it was not good for Western Balkan countries that some people in the new US administration gave the impression of being against the European Union because those countries needed the prospects of EU membership.

Citizens invited to help create Croatian version of Monopoly

A project to create a Croatian edition of Monopoly, in which citizens can participate by submitting proposals and which could become a souvenir for tourists, was presented at a press conference on Tuesday.

German state approves full-face veil ban

Legislation that bans face veils in select public spaces and situations was agreed by the government of the southeastern German state of Bavaria on Tuesday.

Indian restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok named Asia's best for third year

Bangkok's Indian eatery Gaggan on Tuesday was named the best restaurant in Asia for the third consecutive year by Asia's 50 Best Restaurants.

HGK: 16 Croatian companies to exhibit at IDEX defence exhibition

Sixteen Croatian companies will exhibit their products at the 13th IDEX 2017 defence exhibition in Abu Dhabi, to be held on February 19-23.