Air traffic controllers’ strike paralyzes several West African airports

#Ivory Coast : A strike by air traffic controllers paralyzed several West African airports on Friday, notably that of Abidjan where all commercial flights were canceled, we learned from airport sources.

The strikers are demanding in particular an improvement in their working conditions and better career plans.

No flights took off or landed today»said a source at Abidjan airport, who wished to remain anonymous.

We can’t operate. All our flights are canceled»confirmed to AFP the communication manager of Air Côte d’Ivoire, Yacouba Fofana.

The Air France company joined in Abidjan also confirmed the cancellation of its two flights from Roissy, supposed to land in the evening in the Ivorian economic capital, as well as the two flights which were to leave for France.

Air France flights drain hundreds of passengers between the two countries every day.

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The strike movement, launched by the Union of Air Traffic Controllers Unions of Asecna (USYCAA), began Friday morning at 08:00 GMT and should last 48 hours.

The Agency for Air Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (Asecna) has 18 member states, mainly French-speaking African countries.

“General Movement”

It’s a general movement»a USYCAA official in Burkina Faso told AFP, who claims that minimum service is provided for military and humanitarian flights».

Abidjan is therefore not the only airport affected by major disruptions.

No aircraft have landed or taken off from Ouagadougou airport, according to airport sources.

In Bamako, almost all commercial flights have been canceled, said an airport official wishing to remain anonymous.

A Dakar travel agency manager also reported passengers stranded in Lomé, Togo.

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In Dakar, five out of 17 flights were canceled, according to an airport official, again on condition of anonymity.

On Friday, in a press release, Asecna deplored the holding of this wildcat strike»despite the prohibition thereof by all the courts seised».

The Senegalese authorities had seized justice and the latter suspended the strike and requisitioned the signalmen. Despite this requisition, the signalmen were not in the control tower on Friday morning and the authorities replaced them with soldiers from the Air Force»explained the person in charge of the airport of Dakar.

In Côte d’Ivoire, the Ministry of Transport called this strike a“ilegal»explaining that the Ivorian justice had suspended the notice on Thursday.

The ministry regrets that the strike takes place when the dialogue dynamic is engaged».

A first strike notice had been given for August 25, but the movement had finally been suspended and negotiations started.

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