After more strike disruption on transport and street protests across the country during the national day of mobilisation on Thursday, the situation looks slightly better on Friday, January 10th.
Nevertheless the deadlock goes on with hardline unions demanding the government drop the reform or face the record-breaking strike running on.
Four out of five of the normal TGV high speed services, including 70 percent of the budget Ouigo services, operated as usual. Three out of five of the suburban Transilien trains in the greater Paris region and one third of the Intercité routes, which link French cities, were running.
On the local TER trains, services will be reduced to 60 percent, and some of the lines were being operated by buses instead of trains.
All the information can be found in the tweet by the national rail operator SNCF below:
— SNCF (@SNCF) January 9, 2020
International services like the Eurostar – which are also affected by the French strike – were also slightly limited, with nine out of 10 trains running on Friday.
The Parisian Metro services have been severely limited since strikes began on December 5th. Photo: AFP
In Paris public transport services have been steadily improving in recent days, although Thursday was another ‘black day’ for commuters, with severely limited services.
Of the capital’s 16 Metro lines, all were open on Friday, although only automated lines 1 and 14 will run as normal.
[Mouvement Social]⚠️ Pour le 10 janvier, la #RATP prévoit un trafic très perturbé, avec une ouverture principalement aux heures de pointe. L’offre de transport sera quasi-normale sur le Tramway et 2 bus sur 3 circuleront en moyenne. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/DBebKe9qy4
— RATP Group (@RATPgroup) January 9, 2020
Lines 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 7bis, 8, 9, 10 and 11 limited their services to rush hour – 6.30am to 9.30am and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
During these time slots there were fewer trains than normal running and some stations on the lines remained closed. Passengers are wise to check whether their preferred destination station is open before taking the Metro.
Line 13 will only be open in the morning rush hour, while lines 6 and 12 limited their services to the afternoon rush hour. Line 3bis will run between 7.30am and 7.30pm.
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The city's trams are largely back to normal. Friday saw lines 2, 5 and 7 running as normal, lines 1, 5 and 8 as 'quasi normal', and lines 1, 3a and 3b were to run all day but on slightly limited services.
The RER lines A and line B – which links the city centre to both airports and its banlieues – were to run all day but with fewer services than normal.
Three out of four buses will be running.
Unions have warned the strike could widen, with CGT energy workers this week blockading fuel refineries and depots, raising fears of petrol shortages.
Another day of mass demonstrations has been called for Saturday.
Even the moderate CFDT union, which backs the plan for a single points-based system that would do away with France's 42 separate retirement schemes, is baulking at the new “pivot age” of 64.
The government says the measure is needed to plug a deficit that is forecast to reach up to 17 billion euros ($19 billion) by 2025 if nothing is done.
The CFDT, France's largest union, has urged the government to drop the measure and agree to a separate “financing conference” with unions, who want companies to pay more in payroll taxes to cover pension payouts.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who is set to meet labour leaders again on Friday, has said he is open to the idea but wants the pivot age to remain for now in the bill he intends to send to parliament in March.
“If the pivot age stays in the law, we will obviously say no,” CFDT chief Laurent Berger told AFP Thursday.
Officials appear to be bracing for further weeks of disruptions, with both the CGT and FO unions, powerhouses among public-sector workers, insisting the government drop the reform altogether.