Paris commuters face Metro and RER transport strike

Paris transport unions have announced they will join forces with French rail workers by holding a strike on March 22nd.

Paris commuters face Metro and RER transport strike
Photo: AFP

Unions representing workers for Paris transport body RATP announced that they will be showing solidarity with striking SNCF workers on Thursday March 22nd.

That means it could be a miserable day for commuters in and around Paris but also for train passengers across France.

The strike notice filed by seven out of nine unions called for a walk-out at 9pm on Wednesday March 21st until 8am on Friday March 23rd.

At the moment it is unclear how Metro and RER rail traffic will be impacted by the strike. Train and Metro have until 48 hours before the planned strike to declare whether or not they will walk out.

It all depends on how many workers answer the call of the various unions.

The motive for the strike is the government's plan to end the special employment status afforded to French rail workers, known as “cheminots”, which gives them a so-called “job for life”, automatic pay rises and early retirement.

Although rail workers with SNCF argue they deserve the benefits for the tough conditions they have to work in and the fact they have to work nights and weekends.

The controversial move was part of the French government's planned reforms of the rail network, which prompted the unions to declare all out war and threaten “historic” strikes.

Paris transport workers fear they could be next in line for government reforms so feel the need to support their colleagues at SNCF.

We will bring you information on he expected disruption to Metro and RER traffic as soon as we hear.


French customs officers strike over job cuts

Customs officers across France will walk out on Thursday in protest at job cuts that unions say will “weaken the customs network”.

French customs officers strike over job cuts

The national strike on Thursday, March 10th is expected to lead to delays at ports, airports and on the Eurostar.

The strike, which will include a rally outside the National Assembly building in Paris, was called by the CFDT-Douane and has the support of other unions. 

A work-to-rule protest over pay and conditions by customs officers in 2019, under the shadow of Brexit, led to delays and disruption at airports, as well as ports including Calais and Dunkirk, and on Eurostar trains.

Unions are calling on the government to axe plans to switch responsibility for import duty collection to the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques by 2024, at the cost of 700 customs’ officer jobs – and, according to strikers, tens of billions of euros to State coffers.

“We are asking for the reforms to be stopped, mainly that of the transfer of taxation, which is disorganising the network with the elimination of nearly a thousand jobs,” CFDT-Douane’s secretary general David-Olivier Caron said.

The planned job cuts come after years of restructuring and streamlining that has seen thousands of positions disappear, the unions say, when customs fraud and smuggling is rising because of a lack of resources.