Strikes For Members

What to expect from French pension strikes throughout March

The Local France
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What to expect from French pension strikes throughout March
Trash collectors went on strike against the French government's proposed pensions reform on March 6, 2023. (Photo by Stefano RELLANDINI / AFP)

French unions have vowed to continue with industrial action in March - here's what to expect on Tuesday and the days ahead.


Saturday marked the latest day of widespread mobilisation and protests in the ongoing battle between French unions and the government over planned pension reform, and the next is set for Wednesday. Key sectors have called for rolling strikes (grève reconductible), with disruption continuing outside of just organised days of action. 

READ MORE: Calendar: The latest French pension strike dates to remember

Unions representing rail workers, waste collectors, oil refinery workers and Paris public transport operators have declared that they are on grève reconductible, while air traffic controllers and drivers are taking part in extended actions.

Unions will meet each evening to discuss their detailed strategy for the day ahead, but here's what we know so far about disruption to come.

We will update this article as new information becomes available


Oil refineries - members of the hardline CGT union employed at the country's oil refineries say they intend to continue their strikes and blockades. The blockade is intended to prevent supplies of petrol/gasoline and diesel getting out to filling stations, and if there is enough support for these actions it could result in filling stations running dry, as they did in autumn 2022. Industry experts say this is unlikely to happen immediately but some areas have begun to report shortages.

As of Monday morning, blockades were expected to continue in several of France's oil refineries. 

Taking the TotalEnergies site in blockades should also continue in several refineries in the country. At the TotalEnergies site in Loire-Atlantique, three of the largest unions representing refinery workers voted to continue strike action until Thursday at 9pm, the head of the CGT union for refinery workers, Fabien Privé Saint-Lanne, told French news channel BFMTV on Sunday.

"The staff is determined on almost all oil refinery sites to continue strike action", the union head said.

MAP Where in France are fuel blockades causing shortages?

Flights - in previous days, disruption has impacted flights coming in and out of several French airports. Strike action has impacted flights at the Paris-Orly, Beauvais, Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nantes, Nice and Toulouse airports.


No flight cancellations are listed for Tuesday, but passengers are still advised to check their flight status online prior to departing for the airport. 

Keep in mind there may be flight cancellations or delays on Wednesday, during the day of action.

Paris public transport - services on the Paris public transport network RATP returned largely to normal on Monday, and that continues on Tuesday.

As for RER services, the RER A will operate on Tuesday 'quasi-normally', while the RER B line will continue to experience disruptions throughout the start of the week, with an average of two trains running out of three. 

The RER C will run two trains out of three, the RER D will run two trains out of five, and the RER E will run three trains out of four. 

Traffic is expected to be normal on the Transilien K and U lines, with some disruptions on lines J, P, L, H, N, and R.

Meanwhile, the bus, tram and Orlyval networks will operate normally.

On Wednesday - the next date of widespread mobilisation - RER services are expected to be "severely disrupted".


Trains - SNCF staff have also declared a rolling strike and rail bosses say that services will again be disrupted on Monday, and on Tuesday, with similar levels of disruption to Monday.

Those who can are advised to postpone their trips. Here's what to expect on Monday and Tuesday;

  • TGV - an average of 3 trains out of 5 will run on France's high-speed TGV network and on low-cost Ouigo trains.
  • TER - the local train network will see about half of its services run on Monday and Tuesday. 
  • Intercité -  the SNCF expects that on average 1 train out of 3 will run according to schedule. Night trains will be cancelled for Tuesday to Wednesday.

Eurostar - Eurostar operations will be almost normal - two Paris to London trips were cancelled on Monday, and one trip will be cancelled on Tuesday. You can check to see if you are impacted HERE. Services on Thalys lines are expected to run at almost normal capacities as well.

Roadblocks - drivers in France staged a two-day strike last week, and roadblocks were seen during the mobilisation last Tuesday. These actions could be repeated during Wednesday's cross-sector strike day. 

Waste collectors - the CGT union that represents waste collectors has declared a 'rolling' strike. This union has most support among the waste collectors in Paris, so it's likely that the effects will be most strongly felt in the capital - uncollected bins and bags of rubbish piling up on street corners have been seen in certain areas.

READ MORE: IN IMAGES: Rubbish piles up in streets of Paris as strike continues

Thousands of tonnes of garbage has piled up on streets across the French capital after a week of strike action by dustbin collectors against government pension reforms, city hall said Sunday.

Three incineration plants outside the capital have been hit by the work stoppages that have left entire pavements covered in black bags and overflowing bins. 


Schools - the next day that teachers have been called to walk out is Wednesday, March 15th. While primary school teachers are required to give advanced notice before walking out, secondary school teachers are obligated to do so.

Demos - the next scheduled demos are on Wednesday, March 15th.

What next?

It's likely that further one-day strikes will be announced in addition to the 'rolling' actions, with the next 'day of action' set to be on Wednesday, March 15th.

READ MORE: What next for France’s controversial pension reform bill?

The pension reform bill comes back to the Assemblée nationale for debate in the week beginning March 13th and the final vote is expected to take place before March 26th.

These two weeks seem likely to represent a climax in strike actions.

We will update this article as new information becomes available and you can also keep up with the latest at our strike section HERE


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