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IN PICTURES: How a Paris transport workers strike provoked travel chaos

It is predicted to bring the worst disruption to Paris in over a decade, and rush hour commuters have been documenting their attempts to get to work.

IN PICTURES: How a Paris transport workers strike provoked travel chaos

All the unions on Paris' RATP public transport are taking strike action in a coordinated protest over plans for pension reform.

READ ALSO LATEST: Paris Metro strike 'worst disruption in over a decade'

Ten of the city's 16 Metro lines are not running at all, while services are badly disrupted on tram, bus and some RER suburban train services.

 

AFP

The services that are running are extremely busy as thousands of commuters try to get to work, and there is also very high demand for the city's bike sharing and dockless scooter services.

 

The one-day walkout has been sparked by French president Emmanuel Macron's plans to reform France's highly complicated pension system and standardise pension regimes.

 

This has provoked fury from unions, particularly in the transport sector where employees benefit from specific pension regimes that allow certain types of workers to retire on a full pension at the age of 55.

Unions say these generous arrangements are recompense for relatively low levels of pay, anti-social hours and shift work and exposure to pollution and chemicals in the course of their work.

While some Parisians shared pictures of horribly overcrowded trains and massive queues, others had snapped the eerily deserted stations where the lines were closed altogether.

And while there was frustration among commuters, many also expressed solidarity with the strikers in their efforts to protect pension rights for workers.

 

But there was frustration at prices being charged by Uber – where prices are linked to demand.

 

While others simply wished that 'flying Frenchman' Franky Zapata had got his hoverboard on the market.

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TRAVEL

Striking workers block Paris airport terminal, flights delayed

Striking airport workers have blocked part Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport, with some flights already delayed by at least one hour.

Striking workers block Paris airport terminal, flights delayed
Striking airport workers outside Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris. Photo: Geoffroy van der Hasselt | AFP

Last month, trade unions representing workers at the Aéroports de Paris (ADP) – the city’s Charles-de-Gaulle-Roissy and Orly airports – called for a strike between July 1st and July 5th in an ongoing dispute between French airport workers and bosses over contract renegotiations.

A second wave of protests are expected next week, after a strike notice was filed for July 9th.

Tensions mounted on Friday morning as some 400 protesters staged a raucous demonstration at CDG’s terminal 2E, which mostly deals with flights outside the Schengen zone, as police officers looked on.

At Orly airport, meanwhile, some 250 people demonstrated “outside”, while a small group was inside.

The dispute is over a long-term plan by ADP to bring in new work contracts for employees at the airports, which unions say will lower pay, job losses and a reduction in rights and bonuses for employees.

The strike is being jointly called by the CGT, CFE-CGE, Unsa, CFDT and FO unions, who said in a joint press release that the proposals will “definitively remove more than a month’s salary from all employees and force them to accept geographical mobility that will generate additional commuting time”.

Unions say that staff face dismissal if they do not sign the new contracts.

ADP said on Wednesday that it expected ‘slight delays for some flights but no cancellations’ to services – but it urged travellers to follow its social media operations for real-time updates.

On Thursday, the first day of action, 30 percent of flights were delayed between 15 minutes and half-an-hour.

ADP’s CEO Augustin de Romanet had said on Tuesday that ‘everything would be done to ensure no flight is cancelled’. 

ADP reported a loss of €1.17 billion in 2020. 

Stressing that discussions are continuing over the proposed new contracts, the CEO called for “an effort of solidarity, with a red line: no forced layoffs.”

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