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Paris Olympics chief hopes strikes won’t ‘ruin the party’

The chief organiser of the Paris Olympics said on Wednesday he hoped trade unions would not “ruin the party” by calling strikes during the Games amid ongoing threats of industrial action.

Tony Estanguet, head of the Paris organising committee, said he was hoping for a “social ceasefire” during the Games which begin on July 26.

“I hope that we welcome the whole world in the best possible conditions and that we don’t ruin the party,” he told the Telematin programme on French television.

“I hope we can find solutions for people who are going to work on the Games. We’re aware that there are constraints,” he added.

Trade unions representing workers across France’s public services have been pushing for bonuses and extra resources for their members who will have to work through the summer holidays during the Games. 

Police officers and air traffic controllers have already agreed deals, but Paris metro employees, health workers, railways staff and street cleaners among others are staking demands. 

Senior hard-left MP Mathilde Panot has encouraged unions to use the Games to secure pay hikes to compensate for increases in the cost of living due to inflation.

“I think that if they have leverage, and because the government only understands leverage, then you need to use it,” she told the BFM channel on February 16.

Ahead of the 1998 football World Cup in France, the last time the country hosted such a major sporting event, pilots at national carrier Air France went on strike on the eve of kick-off along with taxi drivers and other transport workers.

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