French police union threatens to disrupt Olympics relay

A French police trade union is threatening to disrupt the Olympics torch relay ahead of the start of the Paris Games in July unless officers are given bonuses they were promised. The union says they're ready to strike later today, Thursday.

The police's Alliance Union said that the French prime minister's office and economy ministry are holding up special Olympics payments promised to police, which could amount to as much as 1,900 euros.

Warning that a first demonstration had been called for today, the union said that other actions could follow and that it not had ruled out disrupting the Olympic torch relay when it arrives in France.

Strike threats

The threat underlines the challenge for French authorities as they negotiate Olympics bonuses for public sector staff who are being asked to work over the traditional summer holiday period.

The biggest union representing staff in the civil service, the CGT, has issued a strike notice that will cover the duration of the Olympics which begin on 26 July.

The first French stage of the torch relay is set to begin in Marseille on May 8.

Meanwhile, the country's air traffic controllers had also announced a strike for today, but it has been called off. They had previously promised an "Olympic truce" last September.

However, the French civil aviation authority has said that despite the strike's cancellation following a last-minute deal with the biggest union, the need to finalise details with smaller unions means there will still be disruptions.

(with AFP)

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