PARIS (AP) – Paris airport workers protesting the pay cuts on Friday blocked a busy terminal at Charles de Gaulle airport and clashed with police, causing flight delays and prompting a travel chaos and confusion among passengers.
Police fired pepper spray in an attempt to disperse protesters at Terminal 2E, mainly used for international travel. An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw passengers wipe their burning eyes and frightened children.
Beating drums and horns, a few hundred union activists blocked the terminal’s passport control area, causing hundreds of passengers to miss their flights. Riot police with helmets and shields were deployed and passengers were rerouted to a nearby terminal.
The unions have negotiated with the management of Paris airport pay cuts linked to the collapse of air travel amid the pandemic. The management of the Paris airport network says revenues have fallen by 80% in 2020 and that they are trying to avoid layoffs by cutting wages instead.
Unions have announced strikes and protests until Monday, just as many French families are going on summer vacation. The airport has warned passengers of possible delays and disruptions to road traffic and check-in procedures throughout the duration of the union action.