Saturday 24 February 2018

Strike grounds Air Algerie flights from capital

Strike grounds Air Algerie flights from capital
(AFP 01/23/18)

A strike by Air Algerie cabin crews on Monday grounded flights by the carrier out of the North African state's capital, the airline and a union said.

An AFP correspondent at Algiers international airport said Air Algerie flights were landing as scheduled but there were no takeoffs by the carrier.

Other carriers operating out of Houari Boumediene airport, where around 70 international and domestic departures were scheduled on Monday, did not appear affected by the industrial action.

Hundreds of passengers were left waiting in the departures terminal without information, as airport and airline officials said Air Algerie was chartering planes for flights to France.

"We've been left alone. I don't know if I should buy a new ticket or leave (the airport). I don't know anything, I'm just waiting," said one traveller, Kenza, who had been due back at work in Nice, southeast France, later Monday.

"Air Algerie was taken by surprise this morning by an illegal, surprise strike. There have been no departures from Algiers," the airline's spokeswoman Mounia Bertouche said on national radio.

She said the company was planning to take legal action.

But Karim Ourad, head of Algeria's air crews union, the SNPNCA, denied the strike was illegal and insisted the company had been informed in advance but failed to attend conciliatory meetings.

Its members were demanding the restoration of a pay rise schedule agreed in January 2017 but withdrawn a month later when new management took over.

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