French air traffic controllers granted legal right to turn up late for work

French air traffic controllers have been granted the right to turn up to work three hours late and leave three hours early. 

Under a new agreement between the National Union of Air Traffic Controllers, reported by French media, the country's government made a practice called "clearances" a legal right for controllers.

Clearances, where air traffic staff leave work during quiet periods, are believed to be a common practice in France.

The deal came after workers threatened to go on strike before the Paris Olympics.

Under the agreement, air traffic controllers will also get a pay rise of up to €18,000 (£15,500), 18 additional days off annually, and retirement at 59.

The deal is set to cost €70m (£60.2m) over four years and will be funded by airlines.

But air traffic controllers are not the only workers to threaten to strike ahead of the Olympic Games, which start on 26 July.

Unions across all industries, including staff in hospitals, have said they will walk out if the government does not adequately compensate people forced to work during summer holidays.

Industrial relations in France remain tense, with recent protests from teachers, police officers and farmers following huge demonstrations last year against the rise in retirement age.