Paris Metro strike called as workers battle for higher pay

Commuters in Paris face a transit strike next week as unions representing all city public transport workers call for a walk-out in a dispute over pay.

Paris Metro strike called as workers battle for higher pay
Workers on Paris Metro, bus and tram services will walk out. Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP

A joint statement from the CGT, FO, Unsa, Solidaires and La Base unions – all the unions representing workers at the RATP group – has called for a one-day strike on Friday, February 18th.

RATP covers all the city’s Metro, tram and bus services and some of the suburban RER trains. Other RER routes, and the regional Transilien trains, are run by SNCF so will not be affected by Friday’s strike.

RATP management has proposed a 0.4 percent pay increase, according to the statement, which the unions do not think is enough.

“The profits generated by RATP since 2015 exceed €1 billion. Those of 2021 will be around €200 million,” said the joint statement.

The hardline CGT union is demanding a three percent pay rise for its workers.

Workers in essential sections such as transport are required to give 48 hours notice if they intend to follow calls to strike. RATP will then use the advance notice to prepare a reduced timetable of services, which is usually published the evening before the strike.

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Paris street art legend Miss.Tic dies aged 66

Miss.Tic, whose provocative work began cropping up in the Montmartre neighbourhood of Paris in the mid-80s and made her a pioneer of French street art, died on Sunday aged 66, her family told AFP.

Paris street art legend Miss.Tic dies aged 66

Radhia Novat grew up in the narrow streets in the shadow of Sacre-Coeur basilica, the daughter of a Tunisian father and a mother from Normandy in western France, where she began stencilling sly and emancipatory slogans.

Her family said she had died of an unspecified illness.

Other French street artists paid tribute to her work.

On Twitter, street artist Christian Guemy, alias C215, hailed “one of the founders of stencil art”. The walls of the 13th arrondissement of Paris – where her images are a common sight – “will never be the same again”, he wrote.

Another colleague, “Jef Aerosol” said she had fought her final illness with courage, in a tribute posted on Instagram.

And France’s newly appointed Culture Minister, Rima Abdul Malak, saluted her “iconic, resolutely feminist” work.

Miss.Tic’s work often included clever wordplays — almost always lost in translation — and a heroine with flowing black hair who resembled the artist herself. The images became fixtures on walls across the capital.

Miss. Tic with some examples of her work. Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP

“I had a background in street theatre, and I liked this idea of street art,” Miss.Tic said in a 2011 interview.

“At first I thought, ‘I’m going to write poems’. And then, ‘we need images’ with these poems. I started with self-portraits and then turned towards other women,” she said.

Miss.Tic also drew the attention of law enforcement over complaints of defacing public property, leading to an arrest in 1997.

But her works came to be shown in galleries in France and abroad, with some acquired by the Paris modern art fund of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, according to her website.

And cinema buffs will recognise her work on the poster for Claude Chabrol’s 2007 film “La fille coupee en deux” (“A Girl Cut in Two”).

For a spell she was a favourite of fashion brands such as Kenzo and Louis Vuitton.

“So often it’s not understood that you can be young and beautiful and have things to say,” she told AFP in 2011.

“But it’s true that they sell us what they want with beautiful women. So I thought, I’m going to use these women to sell them poetry.”

Her funeral, the date of which is still to be announced, will be open to the public, said her family.