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Swiss air traffic controllers call strike for late July

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Swiss air traffic controllers call strike for late July
Geneva Airport would be worst affected by the strike. File photo: AFP

Air traffic controllers in Geneva and at a number of other regional Swiss airports say they will strike in late July in industrial action which could cause major headaches for holidaymakers.

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The strike by members of Switzerland's Skycontrol union is set to begin on July 23rd, right in the middle of the busy holiday season. 

It is set to last a week although the union warns it could go on longer if demands over pay and conditions are not met.

Read also: Passengers 'forgotten' on tarmac at Geneva Airport

Air passengers in the Lake Geneva region would be worst-hit by the strike but it would also affect operations at five regional airports including Bern and Lugano. 

The strike would also have an impact on flight operations Europe-wide, according to Swiss daily Tribune de Genève.

The planned industrial action comes after Skycontrol members overwhelming rejected a new collective bargaining agreement with state-owned Skyguide which manages and monitors Swiss airspace. 

Skycontrol president Maximilien Turrettini says more air traffic controllers are needed. Meanwhile, union members are demanding 125 days off a year and salary increases of 1.8 percent a year for three years, or an equivalent number of days off. 

Strikes are relatively uncommon in Switzerland but unions are known to threaten to down tools as a tactic during negotiations over pay and conditions. 

Read also: Swiss police issue warning for parents travelling alone with kids

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