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African air safety union defies ban with strike action

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DAKAR, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Some members of an African regional air safety union have begun a strike over working conditions and pay, the agency they work for said on Friday, despite court decisions and government bans barring them from doing so.

The 18-member West Africa and Madagascar aviation safety agency (ASECNA), which manages air traffic control in an area covering 16.1 million square kilometres of airspace, said on Thursday that some staff had threatened a 48-hour strike that could impact flights.

"In spite of the prohibition of the strike by all the courts, and in spite of the orders of requisition of the air traffic controllers ... the Union of Air Traffic Controllers' Unions (USYCAA) has launched a wildcat strike," ASECNA said.

The agency did not say in its statement on Friday whether the strike would impact services, but told customers to check Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) posts on airline websites.

The USYCAA union said in a statement that its members would cease providing services to all but "sensitive" flights for an indefinite period until their demands are satisfied. (Reporting by Bate Felix and Diadie Ba; Writing by Cooper Inveen; Editing by Alexander Smith)