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Weekend of travel chaos as strikes severely hit Sunday services

Ongoing strike action has seen transport services badly hit, with only a skeleton service running in Paris on Sunday.

Weekend of travel chaos as strikes severely hit Sunday services
Fourteen of Paris' 16 Metro lines are closed on Sunday. Photo: AFP

This weekend marks the départ de Noël, after schools break up on Friday, tens of thousands of families had been planning to travel to visit relatives for the holidays.

READ ALSO Is there a deal in sight between the French government and striking workers?

But ongoing strike action has severely  limited service on the railways, forcing many to take to the roads instead.

Some progress was made in talks between the government and unions on Thursday, but not enough for the strikes to be called off. Unions are concerned about the government's plans to reform the French pension system.

Read more about conditions on the roads here – France faces Christmas traffic jams as train strikes hit

Here's what services on the country's public transport networks are looking like on Sunday.

On the railways half of the normal high speed TGV services will be running, and four fifths of the budget Ouigo services, roughly the same level of service as Saturday.

The local train services are looking less good, with three in 10 trains running on the local TER network and around a quarter of Intercité services.

 

International services like the Eurostar and Thalys and Lyria lines are also affected and are running a limited service over the weekend.

Eurostar has also announced a limited timetable until December 28th.

In Paris services are extremely disrupted, after a limited service on Saturday, Sundays offers very little indeed in the way of transport. 

 

 

On the Metro only lines 1 and 14 – which are automated – are running, all other Metro lines are closed completely.

On the tram five lines – 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8 – are running as normal, while lines 3a and 3b will be running all day but with a limited service and lines 1 will be running only for part of the day.

On the RER trains will be running a limited service with line A not running at all, while on the buses around 60 percent of services will be running.

In short, a good day to explore the city on foot, and this helpful map from Le Parisien shows roughly how long that will take.

 

There are no flight disruptions announced, but anyone with flights booked from January 3rd onwards should be aware that pilots and air crew have called for unlimited strike action unless they reach an agreement with the government over pension ages by Monday, December 23rd.

Eurotunnel's Le Shuttle service is running as normal, as are cross Channel ferries.

 

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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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