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New rail strike in France to see around half of regional train services cancelled

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New rail strike in France to see around half of regional train services cancelled
Just two out of five of SNCF's intercity services will be running on Tuesday. Photo: AFP
08:30 CEST+02:00
France will be hit by another train strike on Tuesday over a looming pension system overhaul after Paris saw its biggest strike action in more than a decade earlier this month.

Just two out of five of SNCF's intercity services will be running during the strike on Tuesday, along with three of five regional TER lines, the operator said, adding that high-speed TGV services would be a "little disrupted".

Service on the main commuter RER trains in the Paris region will be slowed, but the city's transit operator RATP said the metro lines that ground to a halt during the mass strike on September 13th will be working "almost as normal".

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International rail, including the heavily used Eurostar lines, will be unaffected.

The September 13th strike was the first major protest against President Emmanuel Macron's plan to implement a universal pension system that would do away with the more advantageous plans enjoyed by workers in state transport and utility companies.

Metro workers say the reforms would force them to work longer by removing their long-held rights to early retirement, secured decades ago to compensate for spending long hours underground.

France's state auditor, the Cour des Comptes, has said the average retirement age for RATP workers in 2017 was 55.7, compared with 63 years for most French workers.

"We have to tell the French the truth... We are going to have to work longer," Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said during the metro strike -- the biggest since 2007 when former president Nicolas Sarkozy also pushed through pension reforms.

The head of CGT union, one of the unions that called for Tuesday's action, said the previous strike was not "by the privileged few".

"It's a strike by employees saying 'We want to retire at a reasonable age with a reasonable pension'," said CGT head Philippe Martinez.

 
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