Evening Update Wednesday 8 March 2023

Strikes have continued in many sectors today after yesterday's widespread day of industrial action. Public transport is disrupted again today and is also expected to be disrupted all day tomorrow as railway workers continue their strikes. Industrial action has also continued today on the Zou bus network. However, tram services in Nice are running normally, as are Ligne d'Azur bus services. Envibus services in Antibes were disrupted early this morning but the company said later in the morning that services were returning to normal.

Flights continue to be disrupted at French airports because of strike action by air traffic controllers. Twenty to thirty per cent of flights are expected to be cancelled on Thursday and Friday after the French air traffic regulator told airlines to cancel flights because of the continuing industrial action. Flight schedules are expected to be the same as yesterday and today.

Speaking to French media today, Transport Minister Clement Beaune said he expected disruption from strikes across France to continue until the weekend but added that he thought the situation would improve over the next two days.

All dock workers are on strike at several French ports, including Marseille, according to unions.

Household waste collection workers who collect bins in Antibes Juan-les-Pins, Valbonne Sophia Antipolis and Vallauris have also continued their industrial action today.

Meanwhile, French unions have called for further general industrial action this Saturday, the 11th of March as well as on either the 14th or 15th, which is expected to be the time at which a parliamentary committee will vote on the proposed pension reforms.

In other news, there's been an improvement in the number of people affected by the flu epidemic. Sante Publique France said there had been a decline in six of the thirteen regions of France last week. Cases in the other seven regions remained stable.

The Minister Delegate in charge of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Trade, Crafts and Tourism, Olivia Gregoire, has announced a week of activities dedicated to tourism. The first edition of the Week of Tourism Professions will be held from April 3 to 9. During the week, businesses in the sector will open their doors to the general public, in particular to young people and job seekers. On the programme are company visits, open days in schools, recruitment forums, workshops, conferences, and company immersion days. The tourism sector accounts for 8% of French GDP and employs almost two million people directly or indirectly.

 

BUSINESS

Heathrow Airport has been told by the UK Civil Aviation Authority to cut passenger charges for airlines. The regulator decided lower charges were required due to passenger numbers recovering quicker after the height of the pandemic. The average charge per passenger at Heathrow for 2023 is £31.57. But the CAA said this will fall to £25.43 next year and "remain broadly flat" until the end of 2026.

A UK rail union has called off a strike next week. The RMT union said that it had suspended industrial action on the 16th of March and all other action after it received a new offer from Network Rail with which it's been involved in a long-running dispute. However, strikes are still planned by some employees of rail operating companies.

Businesses in the United States hired more employees than expected, according to widely watched data from a payroll company. ADP said that the US economy added 242,000 jobs last month, up from 106,000 in January.

 

SPORT

Rugby Union... England's Courtney Lawes will miss the rest of the Six Nations campaign because of a shoulder injury. Marcus Smith has been retained in the squad, but George Ford is not included.

Hannah Jones is to captain Wales in the Women's Six Nations. Six uncapped players are included in the squad.

Cricket... The 2023 Women's Ashes has broken the ticket sales record for England women's fixtures. 55,000 tickets have already been sold for the tournament which gets underway in June.

 

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