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STRIKES

With no Christmas truce, transport strikes continue across France on Monday

With unions ruling out a 'Christmas truce' strike action continues in France on Monday, with public transport still badly disrupted and power cuts over the weekend.

With no Christmas truce, transport strikes continue across France on Monday
Photo: AFP

Strike action is set to continue in France over Christmas as unions protest over planned pension reforms which they fear will leave people working longer for a smaller pension.

President Emmanuel Macron's promise over the weekend that he would forgo the generous pension paid out to ex presidents appears to have done little to calm union anger and even pleas by some of the more moderate unions for a Christmas break have been ignored by some of their regional branches.

On the railways, SNCF has already laid out the limited timetable it is offering over the next few days. More detail here – These are the train services that will be running over Christmas in France.

On Monday, on the railways there is still a limited service with two in five of the normal high speed TGC services running and half of the budget Ouigo services.

As they have been throughout the strike, the local and suburban lines are worse hit, with one in five Transilien services, one in four Intercité and four in 10 local TER trains.

 

In Paris public transport systems are still be limited although not as badly affected as Sunday, when just two Metro lines ran all day.

 

On the Metro lines 1 and 14 – which are automated – are running as normal, while lines 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 will be running a limited service as rush hour only. Many stations on those lines remain closed.

Metro lines 3bis, 5, 6, 7bis, 12 and 13 are closed all day.

On the trams the service is almost back to normal with lines 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8 running as normal while lines 2, 3a and 3b are described as 'quasi normal'.

The RER is still running rush hour only and about 60 percent of the buses are running.

There has been no cancellations announced on flights, although a number of flights to airports in southern France have been affected by stormy weather.

There is also the possibility of more blackouts.

Tens of thousands of homes in Lyon, Bordeaux and Perpignan were affected by power cuts last week, which the hardline CGT union announced were down to its members.

Over the weekend two rugby matches – Castres v Lyon and Agen v Toulouse – had to be temporarily halted when the stadiums lost power.

 

The CGT Energie union confirmed that its members had caused the cuts, as a protest at the proposed pension reform.

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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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