Commuters, train passengers and school pupils can expect problems on Tuesday as five unions call strikes across the country to protest against government cuts.

"/> Commuters, train passengers and school pupils can expect problems on Tuesday as five unions call strikes across the country to protest against government cuts.

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EDUCATION

Over 200 strikes to hit transport and schools

Commuters, train passengers and school pupils can expect problems on Tuesday as five unions call strikes across the country to protest against government cuts.

Over 200 strikes to hit transport and schools
Justin D Goring (File)

School pupils have also promised to join the action with demonstrations outside schools in Paris and some other cities.

Metro and fast RER trains in the capital will suffer some delays, particularly on metro lines 5, 7, 9 and on the busy lines A and B of the RER.

Line A hopes to have three trains in four running while line B will have its service cut in half during morning and evening rush hour.

High-speed TGV trains will be disrupted with three out of four trains running on average across the network.

François Chérèque, head of the CFDT union, told Canal Plus on Monday that unions wanted to “send the government a message.”

“We want to say that it is particularly unjust that salaried employees are being made to pay.”

President Sarkozy’s government announced plans in August to find €12 billion ($16.4 billion) of savings as part of the government’s plan to cut the budget deficit to 5.7 percent of gross domestic product in 2011, eventually reaching the European Union target of 3 percent by 2013.

Schools will also be affected in the day of action as workers including teachers and canteen workers take action.

Pupils have also announced plans to strike, mainly outside establishments in Paris.

Victor Colombani, president of the national union of students, told BFM TV “education is one of the main victims” of the austerity plans. 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.

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