Working conditions for French helicopter pilots in the area of help and rescue are appalling: rosters are not stable, vacations are not planned and when achieved are often mixed with rest periods, overtime is not paid and no compensation for night work is given. Furthermore, the help and rescue crews are under incredible pressure from their employers and are confronted with the emotional blackmail of not being able to help people in critical situations.
This situation is not sustainable and has an impact on flight safety. The pilots concerned have created a negotiating platform to promote changes to their Collective Labour Agreement. Faced with the lack of response from the public authorities to the request of this platform two days of industrial action were organised by SNPL.
The industrial action was followed by the vast majority of the bases. It should be noted that the strike did not affect the service to victims since a minimum service was guaranteed. However, the public authorities have showed no intention to change the situation.
In the meanwhile, a report from the transport-labour inspection has shown important failures in the organisation of the helicopter pilots? work and potentially unsafe and unhealthy practices.
Three more days of industrial action have been called from the 5th to the 8th September. With this action Helicopter Pilots will demonstrate the gravity of the situation and their determination to have a respectable and safe Search and Rescue service.