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STRIKES

Paris set to be badly hit on Sunday as strike transport disruption continues

As mass transport strikes move into their second weekend, Paris residents can again expect a badly disrupted couple of days on public transport.

Paris set to be badly hit on Sunday as strike transport disruption continues
Expect major transport disruption in Paris this weekend. Photo: AFP

The city's RATP network has said it will be following the same pattern as last weekend – when it sacrificed weekend services in order to concentrate its resources on keeping as many commuter lines as possible open during the week.

The strike over pension reform shows few signs of being speedily resolved as both unions and government reiterate their positions.

READ ALSO Will French trains be running by Christmas?

For the government the reform is necessary to create a simpler, universal system that is fairer for everyone.

But unions fear that the changes will leave people working for longer with smaller pensions once they do retire.

In Paris, unions on the RATP network have already confirmed that they will be striking at least until Wednesday, December 18th.

Services on the city's Metro, bus, tram and RER network expanded slightly on Friday, but are set to fall again over the weekend.

Transport bosses have said that their priority is run as many commuter services as possible, and so weekend services will be sacrificed. Anyone who can avoid Metro and RER services over the weekend is advised to do so.

On Sunday, only the two automated Metro lines – Line 1 and Line 14 – will be functioning normally, as was the case on Saturday. All the other fourteen metro lines will be closed throughout the day. 

Two tram lines – 5 and 8 – will be running normally. Lines 2,6,7,3a and 3b will be running all day but with a limited service.

Tram line 1 will run every 15 minutes between 7am and 12pm, and then again from 3.30pm and 8.30pm. 

On the RER only suburban train line B will be running, between 12 noon and 6pm with a limited service. Around 60 percent of the normal bus service will be running. The RER A line is closed. 

RATP has been warning people not to use the public transport network unless absolutely essential.

On the railways the situation will be similar – with slightly fewer services than had been running on Saturday.

On Sunday, there will be 25 percent of the usual services running on the high speed TGV and Ouigo networks. The Intercité will only manage 13 percent, and the Transilien suburban services just one in five as again bosses try to save their resources for commuters.

The worst affected will be the local TER network will have just one in three services running, many of those involving replacement bus services.

SNCF has, however, reopened its online booking system, which had been closed since the strike began because of the uncertainty of the situation. It is now accepting bookings until December 18th on a limited number of services. More information is available here.

Bear in mind that the disruption continues to affect international rail operators like Eurostar, Thalys nd Lyria, all of which continue to operate limited services.

The Channel Tunnel, which does not run on the French railway network, is not affected.

Flights are still looking OK, and there is no disruption forecast.

On the roads there are still blockades at four of France's oil depots, but the other four are now clear and fuel is getting through. There are still some shortages at petrol stations though, especially in the north west of the country, so check out this interactive map if you are planning a journey.

Next week strikes look to continue, with unions calling for another 'day of protest' on Tuesday, December 17th with further one-day walk-outs and marches and demonstrations in the streets.

 

 

 

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STRIKES

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.

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