For members


Start of week of rolling transport strikes in France

Strikes on railways and in airports in France began on Thursday, the beginning of several different strikes called for the start of July.

Start of week of rolling transport strikes in France
Trains and airports are set to be hit by strikes in July. Photo: DENIS CHARLET / AFP.

Who is going on strike?

Three groups have so far called for strike action at the beginning of July, designed to coincide with the first part of the holiday getaway.

The CGT union has called for a national strike on the railways on Thursday July 1st. Since the strike only involves a single union it is unlikely to cause widespread disruption of the type seen during the mass transport strikes of December 2019 and January 2020, and reported disruptions so far are low.

SNCF said services are “quasi normal” on Thursday, with TGV and Intercité running as normal, and some disruption on the local TER trains. International services like Eurostar, Thalys and Lyria are running as normal.

International travel could also be impacted due to an airport workers’ strike. All trade unions representing workers at the Aéroports de Paris (Charles de Gaulle-Roissy and Orly airports) are calling for a strike between July 1st and July 5th. Union representatives said they chose the July date, as it is the first weekend of mass departures for the summer holidays.

There are no flight cancellations reported due to this action.

Three transport unions have called for workers on the Ouigo budget high-speed trains to go on strike over the weekend of July 3rd and 4th. They are Unsa-Ferroviaire, CFDT-Cheminots, and SUD-Rail. This will not affect regular TGV services, Intercité lines or TER local train services and suburban routes.

SNCF says its Ouigo routes will b “slightly adapted” over the weekend to allow for the strike action, but that 100 percent of customers will be able to travel.

July 1st also represents the planned start date for vaccine passports within the EU, meaning the strike will impact fully vaccinated people hoping to take advantage of relaxed travel restrictions within the Bloc.

Why are they striking?

The goal of the Ouigo strike is to protest “deteriorating working conditions”, and to ask for a one-off bonus to recognise railway workers’ contributions during the pandemic, as reported by Le Parisien.

In a joint press release, the three unions distanced themselves from the July 1st action, telling workers not to join a “catch-all strike”.

Among the CGT’s demands are a pay rise and an end to outsourcing within the SNCF. “For our salaries, our jobs, our rights, for a protected status for all railway workers – everyone on strike!” they said.

The airport strike meanwhile follows a dispute over contract renegotiations. Unions say the plans outlined by Aéroports de Paris will lead to lower pay, job losses, and a reduction in workers’ rights.

French vocab

Les cheminots – railway workers

Un syndicat – a trade union

Appeler à la grève – to call for a strike

Une revendication – a demand

Une hausse des salaires – a pay rise

Les conditions de travail – working conditions

If you get caught up in the strikes, find some more useful vocabulary here.

Member comments

  1. Considering the country is in a financial mess, I would have thought the unions should be working to get it back on it’s feet instead of striking but there again, I’m still waiting for my unicorn to be delivered Brexit promised me.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


What changes in France in July 2022

Summer's here and the time is right for national celebrations, traffic jams, strikes, Paris beaches, and ... changing the rules for new boilers.

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer holidays

The holiday season in France officially begins on Thursday, July 7th, as this is the date when school’s out for the summer. The weekend immediately after the end of the school year is expected to be a busy one on the roads and the railways as families start heading off on vacation.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer


But it wouldn’t really be summer in France without a few strikes – airport employees at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports will walk out on July 1st, while SNCF rail staff will strike on July 6th. Meanwhile Ryanair employees at Paris, Marseille and Toulouse airports will strike on yet-to-be-confirmed dates in July.

READ ALSO How strikes and staff shortages will affect summer in France

Parliamentary fireworks?

Prime minister Elisabeth Borne will present the government’s new programme in parliament on July 5th – this is expected to be a tricky day for the Macron government, not only does it not have the parliamentary majority that it needs to pass legislation like the new package of financial aid to help householders deal with the cost-of-living crisis, but opposition parties have indicated that they will table a motion of no confidence against Borne.

Parliament usually breaks for the summer at the end of July, but a special extended session to allow legislation to be passed means that MPs won’t get to go on holiday until at least August 9th. 

Fête nationale

July 14th is a public holiday in France, commemorating the storming of the Bastille which was the symbolic start of the French Revolution. As usual, towns and cities will host parades and fireworks – with the biggest military parade taking place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris – and many stores will remain closed.

As the national holiday falls on a Thursday this year, many French workers will take the opportunity to faire le pont.

Festival season really kicks in

You know summer’s here when France gets festival fever, with events in towns and cities across the country. You can find our pick of the summer celebrations here.

Paris Plages

The capital’s popular urban beaches return on July 9th on the banks of the Seine and beside the Bassin de la Villette in northern Paris, bringing taste of the seaside to the capital with swimming spots, desk chairs, beach games and entertainment.  

Summer sales end 

Summer sales across most of the country end on July 19th – unless you live in Alpes-Maritimes, when they run from July 6th to August 2nd, or the island of Corsica (July 13th to August 9th).

Tour de France

The Tour de France cycle race sets off on July 1st from Copenhagen and finishes up on the Champs-Elysée in Paris on July 24th.

New boilers

From July 1st, 2022, new equipment installed for heating or hot water in residential or professional buildings, must comply with a greenhouse gas emissions ceiling of 300 gCO2eq/KWh PCI. 

That’s a technical way of saying oil or coal-fired boilers can no longer be installed. Nor can any other type of boiler that exceeds the ceiling.

As per a decree published in the Journal Officiel in January, existing appliances can continue to be used, maintained and repaired, but financial aid of up to €11,000 is planned to encourage their replacement. 

Bike helmets

New standards for motorbike helmets come into effect from July 1st. Riders do not need to change their current helmets, but the “ECE 22.05” standard can no longer be issued – and all helmets sold must adhere to a new, more stringent “ECE 22.06” standards from July 2024

New cars

From July 6th new car models must be equipped with a black box that record driving parameters such as speed, acceleration or braking phases, wearing (or not) of a seat belt, indicator use, the force of the collision or engine speed, in case of accidents.

New cars II

From July 1st, the ecological bonus for anyone who buys an electric vehicle drops by €1,000, while rechargeable hybrids will be excluded from the aid system, “which will be reserved for electric vehicles whose CO2 emission rate is less than or equal to 20g/km”.

What’s in a name?

Historically, the French have been quite restrictive on the use of family names – remember the concern over the use of birth names on Covid vaccine documents? – but it becomes easier for an adult to choose to bear the name of his mother, his father, or both by a simple declaration to the civil status. All you have to do is declare your choice by form at the town hall of your home or place of birth.

Eco loans

In concert with the new boiler rules, a zero-interest loan of up to €30,000 to finance energy-saving renovations can be combined with MaPrimeRénov’, a subsidy for financing the same work, under certain conditions, from July 1st.

Rent rules

Non-professional private landlords advertising properties for rent must, from July 1st, include specific information about the property on the ad, including the size of the property in square metres, the area of town in which the property is in, the monthly rent and any supplements, whether the property is in a rent-control area, and the security deposit required. Further information, including the full list of requirements for any ad, is available here.

Perfume ban

More perfumes are to be added to a banned list for products used by children, such as soap-making kits, cosmetic sets, shampoos, or sweet-making games, or toys that have an aroma.

Atranol, chloroatranol (extracts of oak moss containing tannins), and methyl carbonate heptin, which smells like violets, will be banned from July 5th, because of their possible allergenic effects.

Furthermore, 71 new allergenic fragrances – including camphor, menthol, vanilin, eucalyptus spp. leaf oil, rose flower oil, lavendula officinalis, turpentine – will be added to the list of ingredients that must be clearly indicated on a toy or on an attached label.

Ticket resto limits

The increased ticket resto limit ended on June 30th, so from July 1st employees who receive the restaurant vouchers will once again be limited to spending €19 per day in restaurants, cafés and bars. The limit was increased to €38 during the pandemic, when workers were working from home.