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British holidaymakers warned of travel chaos over strikes in France and at Heathrow


British holidaymakers have been warned of disruptions over the Easter period as French air staff are planning to strike over Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms.

Air controllers are expected to walk out in France threatening hundreds of flights to be cancelled next month.

Last-ditch talks are also to be held in a bid to avert strikes by security guards at Heathrow Airport.

More than 1,400 members of Unite are due to walk out for 10 days from Friday until Easter Sunday in a dispute over pay.

Unite said flights will be disrupted if the talks on Thursday do not lead to a settlement.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The offer of new talks is to be welcomed but Heathrow’s executives have to realise that the genie is out the bottle.

“Workers can’t be expected to accept real-term pay cuts as shareholders and bosses get richer and richer.

“So, if the strike is to be averted there needs to be more real money put on the table to make a decent pay rise.”

Unite regional officer Wayne King said: “Unite is entering into the talks in good faith but Heathrow Airports Ltd needs to be aware that unless it is prepared to improve the pay offer to our members then there is no chance of the strike beginning on Friday being postponed.”

British Airways said it will cancel around 32 flights per day to and from Heathrow over the Easter weekend.

Heathrow said it was putting “contingency plans” in place and drafting 1,000 extra staff – as well as its management team – into terminals to help passengers during the Easter getaway.

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A BA spokesman said: “Following Heathrow’s requirement for us to reduce the number of passengers travelling during the period of its employees’ proposed strike action, we’ve regrettably had to make a small number of adjustments to our schedule.

“We’ve apologised to customers whose travel plans have been affected and have offered them a range of options, including rebooking on to a new flight with us or another airline, or requesting a full refund.

“Our teams are continuing to work closely with Heathrow to ensure that our customers’ journeys run smoothly.”

British Airways has cancelled around 5 percent of its flights during the industrial action and stopped selling tickets for strike days. The cancellations fall on short-haul routes and the long-haul services are not affected.

A Heathrow spokesman said: “We will not let these unnecessary strikes impact the hard-earned holidays of our passengers.

“Our contingency plans will keep the airport operating as normal throughout.

“We are deploying 1,000 additional colleagues and the entire management team, who will be in the terminals providing assistance to passengers over the busy Easter getaway.

“As at any busy time, it may take a little longer than usual to get through security, but this will be well-managed and kept flowing.

“Passengers can help us ensure they get the best start to their journeys by checking their flight status with their airline before travelling to the airport, arriving at Heathrow no earlier than two hours before short-haul flights and three hours before long-haul flights, and by being ready for security with their compliant liquids and electronics out of their hand luggage.”



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