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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Portuguese flag carrier pilots stage 24-hour strike over working conditions

LISBON, Portugal - TAP Air Portugal pilots are staging a 24-hour strike on Saturday over what they say is a deterioration in work conditions, with their walkout disrupting the flag carrier's operations during the peak summer vacation period.

The state-owned airline on average carries some 42,000 passengers on about 350 flights a day in August.

The company said Friday it hopes to operate around 150 flights during the walkout. Some 25,000 customers have changed their date of travel.

The Civil Aviation Pilots' Union, which represents the company's almost 900 pilots, says work conditions have slipped ahead of the airline's planned privatization.

The company, which flies to almost 200 destinations, said there was no justification for the strike and blamed it on a show of strength ahead of the union's upcoming leadership elections.

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