Travellers in France warned transport strikes could hit trains and planes

People travelling by plane or train in France on Thursday could face transport disruptions after three of the country's leading workers' unions called for members to down tools in response to the government's "liberal reforms".

Travellers in France warned transport strikes could hit trains and planes
File photo: AFP
Several of France's unions including hardline CGT, FO and Solidaire have called for transport workers to strike on Thursday. 
Around a 170 strikes will take place around the country in response to President Emmanuel Macron's “liberal reforms” which started with his highly controversial changes to France's enshrined labour code.
Macron has already signed off his controversial reforms but nevertheless they need to be debated in parliament once again before they come into law and will be put to a vote on November 28th.
Unions however are not willing to give up the fight and say Thursday's strike is about keeping up the pressure on Macron. But it looks like they won't be able to create much pressure given what is expected to be a low turn-out.
Protesters in Paris will march between Place de la Republique and Nation, but their numbers are not expected to be great.
Although disruptions to the country's transport network are expected to be minor, some journeys including those involving trains outside the Paris region, are more likely to be affected than others. 
Here's what's expected:
Around France
Bus and tram services are not operating n many towns around France or have been severely disrupted.
Most train users can breathe a sigh of relief with France's national rail company SNCF expecting “normal” traffic on the TGV and Transilien (Ile-de-France) network.
However disruptions are predicted on the regional TER and Intercités networks, where 20-33 percent of trains face cancellation. Bus replacement services will be laid on in many areas.

Some disruptions are expected for people flying on Thursday, said France's civil aviation authority, the DGAC.
Although the authority did not ask airline companies to take pre-emptive measures, replacement air traffic controllers will be on call in Reims, Athis-Mons, Brest, Bordeaux and Aix. 
Paris region
It doesn't look like people travelling around the Paris region will be too affected by the strike, with the capital's transport network, the RATP expecting everything to run as normal on “most of the network” which includes the Metro, RER trains, buses and trams. 


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.