France strikes: Tension mounts with more travel disruption and possible power cuts on Wednesday

Strikes in France continue on Wednesday with heightened rhetoric on both sides and the possibility of more power cuts, as well as severe transport disruption

France strikes: Tension mounts with more travel disruption and possible power cuts on Wednesday
All photos: AFP

As the mass transportation strikes in France approach the three-week mark there has been a hardening of rhetoric from both sides as the possibility of declaring a 'Christmas truce' slipped away on Tuesday.

Tuesday marked another day of marches and mass protests, with striking workers admitting that they are feeling the pinch financially but determined to keep going.

On Tuesday it was announced that there will be no 'Christmas truce' on the railways over December 21st and 22nd, badly hitting the traditional holiday getaway weekend.

READ ALSO Strikes: Will any French train services be running over Christmas?

So what's happening on Wednesday?

Well on the railways there is another day of disruption with around 80 percent services cancelled.

Just one in three high speed TGV services are running, a quarter of Intercité services, about one in six Intercité services and the worst affected party of the network continues to be local TER trains, where only three services in 10 are running, many of those replacement bus services.


In Paris public transport is again badly hit with many Metro lines closed altogether and others, along with tram, bus and RER lines, offering a limited service.

On the Metro lines 1 and 14 – which are automated – are running as normal while lines 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 and 11 are running a limited service during rush hour only.

Lines 2, 3 bis, 5, 6, 7bis, 10, 12 and 13 remain closed completely.

On the trams, lines 5 and 8 are running a normal service.

Lines 2, 3b, 6 and 7 are running all day, but with fewer trams than normal, although lines 6 and 7 are described as 'quasi normal'. Line 1 is running rush hour only and line 3a is running from 5.30am to 9pm.

Services on the RER remain rush hour only and about half the normal bus routes are running.


In the air, there were no flight cancellations, but there could be knock-on effects after some flights in and out of Paris' Orly airport were cancelled on Tuesday. Anyone who has a flight booked is advised to check with their airline.

And in a new development there is the possibility of more power cuts.

Around 50,000 homes in the Bordeaux area lost power on Monday night and another 40,000 in Lyon on Tuesday morning.

The hardline CGT union has confirmed that its members were behind the cuts, and says there could be more to come.

READ ALSO Unions threaten power cuts across France as pension strikes continue

Francis Casanova, CGT central union delegate at electricity supplier RTE, said: “We consider that this is not malicious.
“This is a way for RTE employees to show that if there is electricity in this country, it is because they are at work every day.”
But the unions were not the only ones talking tough on Tuesday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told the French parliament that he would be pressing ahead with the pension reform regardless of the protests.
He said: “My determination, and that of the government and the majority, is total.”


Member comments

  1. Yeah – Pretty scarry actually. Considering a lot of other countrys pension schemes – For me (denmark), I am estimated to retire at 70, being 48 now – Last time I checked, French are getting older as well – Who are going to pay for 40+ years on pension? As much as I love France and the french I sometimes just wonder that they accept this “system of disruption” whenever a government tries to change any tiny little thing – Being gas prices, companies right to lay of employees (And thus motivate to hire employees), speed limits…
    Merry x-mas to all of you! 🙂

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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.