These, who thought, that Ariane 5 mission with codename VA-236 will be possible In March probably underestimated strength of French unions in French Guiana.
Flight with two communications satellites, SDGC and Koreasat-7 on the top was planned originally for last week. Unfortunately rolled out of the rocket and delivering to launch pad from assembling facility was not possible. On March 20, on Monday main French Unions announced strike, which covered also workers employed at Guiana Space Center. Arianespace was quite sure, that problem with Unions will be solved within hours and announced, that flight will be possible with 24 hours of delay. But on last Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday rocket still remained inside assembling facility. Workers were rather spreading strike actions around French Guiana, supported by UTG, French Democratic Confederation of Labor (CDTG) and Force Ouvrière. On Monday already 27 Unions decided to support protests and even general strike is considered as possible action. At the present moment situation is pretty hard – Arianespace still has not announced date of flight, but according to its website it is still considered as possible to launch it already in March. Ericka Bareigts, French Minister of Overseas probably will fly to French Guiana with Minister of Interior Mattias Fekl and Minister of Social Affairs and Health Marisol Touraine to help in finding solution, meeting demands of both sides.
Unions and workers have number of demands – most important is stopping privatization of Kourou Medical and Surgical Center (CMCK) and increasing number of local transport companies contracted for construction of launch site for Ariane 6, were until now most of contracted companies were from Europe.