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STRIKES

Paris transport strike will close half city’s Metro lines and severely limit services

Half of Paris' Metro lines will be closed compeltely during Thursday's strike, while the rest of the city's public transport network will see very heavy disruption.

Paris transport strike will close half city's Metro lines and severely limit services
Half the Paris Metro lines will be closed on Thursday. Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP

Thursday, November 10th, marks the third ‘inter-professional’ strike day in France but while the previous two saw minimal disruption, this one has won the backing of workers on Paris’ public transport network RATP.

The operator has warned that Metro and RER suburban trains services will be ‘very heavily disrupted’, while bus and tram services will be ‘disrupted’.

RATP on Wednesday produced a strike timetable detailing the disruption, but the overall advice remains “change your travel plans and work from home if possible”.

Metro lines 2, 3bis 5, 8, 10, 11 and 12 will be closed completely on Thursday.

Lines 3, 4, 6, 7, 7bis, 9 and 13 will operate only during rush hours – 7am to 9.30am and 4.30pm to 7.30pm – and will run limited services during these times.

Lines 1 and 14, which are automated, will run as normal but are likely to be extremely busy.

On the RER, line A will run 1 in 3 of its normal services and will stop at 9pm, while line B – which connects Paris to its two airports – will run normal hours but with only half or 1 in 3 of its normal services. The other RER lines are run by SNCF, which is not expecting any disruption.

On the buses some lines will be heavily disrupted while trams will run mostly as normal except for line 5 which will only have services between 5.30am and 10.30am, and 3.30pm and 8.30pm. Line 2 will run fewer services than normal. 

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without public transport

SNCF is not expecting major disruption on rail journeys across France.

The inter-professional strike days were called by the hardline CGT union in response to the rising cost of living. They have not attracted the widespread support of other unions, meaning disruption has until now been kept to a minimum.

Unions have staged strikes across several sectors in recent weeks seeking pay hikes or increased hiring as spiralling energy costs feed into widespread inflation.

Union leaders are also hoping to step up pressure on President Emmanuel Macron as he prepares to revive a controversial pensions overhaul that would push back the official retirement age to 64 or 65, from 62 currently.

A similar attempt sparked massive protests two years ago, before the government abandoned the overhaul amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Former prime minister Jean Castex, who is set to take over as RATP chief in the coming weeks, will face questioning from lawmakers in the Senate and the lower-house National Assembly this week.

We will update this story with further information on Wednesday. 

Member comments

  1. Can you please stop calling the CGT union “hardline” or hard left”. You’ve been doing it for weeks now. It’s just a normal union, as in every country in the world, defending its members. Your personal political opinions are unsuitable for an information site like this one.

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STRIKES

France’s pension strikes: What to expect on January 31st

The final day of January marks the second - and almost certainly not the last - day of mass strike action in the ongoing battle between the French government and unions over pension reform. Here's what to expect on January 31st.

France's pension strikes: What to expect on January 31st

Unions have promised the ‘mother of all battles’ against Emmanuel Macron’s plans to reform the French pension system, including raising the retirement age from 62 to 64.

5 minutes to understand French pension reform

However, the action for the moment is mostly concentrated into a series of one-day actions, with the first taking place on January 19th.

The next ‘mass mobilisation’ is scheduled for Tuesday, January 31st. It is supported by all eight French trades union federations, which means that support is likely to be high and disruption severe on certain services.

Workers in essential services such as transport must declare their intention to strike 48 hours in advance, allowing transport operators to produce strike timetables, which are usually released 24 hours in advance. We will update this story as new information is released.

Trains

Rail unions are strongly backing the action – on January 19th, 46 percent of all rail workers walked out, and unions say they expect a similar level of support on January 31st. This would likely lead to a similar level of disruption with around half of high-speed TGV trains cancelled and 9 out of 10 of local TER services. 

International services including Eurostar could also see cancellations or a revised timetable. 

City public transport

Workers on Paris’ RATP network also saw high levels of support for the previous strike – with most Metro lines running rush-hour-only services and some closed altogether, while buses ran a severely limited service. The full details of exactly what will be running will be revealed on Monday evening by RATP.

Other cities including Nice, Lyon and Nantes will likely see a repeat of severely disrupted bus, tram and Metro services.

Schools

The major teaching unions have called for another 24-hour walkout, so some schools are likely to close. The January 19th action saw roughly half of teachers across France walk out.

Ski lifts

The two unions that represent more than 90 percent of workers in ski resorts have called an ‘unlimited’ strike beginning on January 31st. So far Tuesday is the only confirmed strike day, but others could be announced. Strikes in ski resorts generally mainly affect the operation of ski lifts.

Petrol stations

The hardline CGT union has announced extra strike dates for workers at oil refineries, and also threatened blockades. This can result in shortages at petrol stations as supplies of petrol and diesel are blocked from leaving the refineries and reaching filling stations.

Power cuts 

CGT members working in the state electricity sector have also threatened more ‘direct action’ including power cuts to selected towns. This is not a legitimate strike tactic – in fact France’s labour minister says it is “a criminal offence” and will be punished accordingly – but it could happen nevertheless.

On January 19th two towns – one in the greater Paris region and one in northern France – lost power for a couple of hours in what was described as a deliberate cut. The union says it intends to target towns that elected MPs who support the pension reform.

Demos

January 31st will also see another day of marches and demonstrations in towns and cities around France. On January 19th more than 1 million people took to the streets and unions will be hoping for a similar turnout on January 31st. One striking feature of the demos on January 19th was the comparatively large turnout in smaller French towns that usually do not see large demos.

Other strike dates

The above information relates to January 31st only, and services before and after this date are expected to run as normal.

Some unions, however, have declared ‘unlimited’ strikes, so there could be disruptions on these services on other days – these include ski lift operators, truck drivers and oil refinery workers.

It is highly likely that further one-day or multi-day strikes will be announced for February and March, as the pension reform bill comes before parliament, you can keep up to date with out strike calendar HERE.

We will update this article as more information becomes available, and you can also keep up with the latest in our strike section HERE.

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