Strikes For Members

Will pension strikes affect the Easter holidays in France?

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected] • 31 Mar, 2023 Updated Fri 31 Mar 2023 15:54 CEST
Will pension strikes affect the Easter holidays in France?
Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

France is in the grip of a long-running battle over pension reform that has seen periodic strikes, large demos and occasional acts of violence in the big cities - so will this be over by the time the Easter holidays start?


At the time of writing the next confirmed strike date is Thursday, April 6th, when unions have called for a day of "strong mobilisation". Precise details have yet to be announced, but it's likely that Thursday will see disruption on transport includes planes and trains and marches in towns and cities across France.

You can find all the latest on service disruption HERE.

However, this doesn't mean that Thursday will be the last strike - so far the pattern has been for unions to make an announcement of the evening of the strike day with dates for the next action.

Although the pension reform bill has now been through the parliament, it still needs to be given the seal of approval by the Constitutional Council. The council has until April 14th to deliver its verdict so it seems likely that strikes and demos will continue until at least that date.

You can keep up to date with the latest in our strike section HERE


In addition to the big strike days, some unions are declaring their own 'rolling' strikes - these include air traffic controllers and rail workers and these services have seen disruption, albeit on a smaller scale, on most days in recent weeks.

In Paris, striking waste collectors have been ordered back to work, but local authorities estimate it will take at least until early April to shift the 9,000 tonnes of rubbish that piled up during the strike, while waste collectors in Toulouse have recently begun a blockade.

Some places have also seen spontaneous or 'surprise' protests, including a building occupation at Bordeaux university and a blockade of the Louvre by striking staff.


Like February’s winter holidays - which stretched into March for about one-third of the country, the Spring school holidays in France are stretched over three overlapping two-week periods to avoid overcrowding at holiday resorts, and lengthen the holiday high-season for the tourism industry.

This year’s Spring holidays, which don’t all take in Easter, run from April 8th to March 9th, and break down as follows:

READ ALSO France's school holiday zones explained

Zone A: April 8th to April 24th (most schools will break up after classes on April 7th).

Zone B: April 15th to May 2nd.

Zone C: April 22nd to May 9th.

Meanwhile in the UK, school holidays in most areas start on April 3rd, so UK visitors will likely start arriving in France from March 31st for an Easter break. 

This year Easter Sunday falls on April 10th, with Monday, April 10th a public holiday in France. Good Friday is not a holiday for most of the country, apart from the historic Alsace-Lorraine area


France’s roads watchdog Bison Futé forecasts traffic jams are likely on several days during the Spring holiday period - notably on Good Friday, April 7th (which is not a public holiday across most of the country), and on Easter Monday, April 10th (which is a public holiday), when it predicts heavy traffic across large parts of the country.


Its traffic diary for 2023 also notes potential traffic issues in northwest France on Saturday, April 8th; around Greater Paris on April 21st and 22nd, and again on April 28th and 29th. Further travel issues are forecast around the Paris area on May 1st, and the long weekend from Friday May 5th to Monday, May 8th.

Airports, and ferry and rail services also expect to be busier than usual as holidaymakers head off for Easter breaks - which, in turn, makes them key targets for striking workers. So, if there are to be any strikes, expect them to focus on travel hubs.

READ ALSO Flying bells and giant omelettes: How the French celebrate Easter


The long-range weather forecast predicts temperatures of between 7C and 16C in France for April, with no more than 3-8 days of the rain for the month.


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