Strikes For Members

Strikes, fires and political upheaval - what to expect in France this week

The Local France
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Strikes, fires and political upheaval - what to expect in France this week
Photo by Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP

There are no more mass strike days planned for this week - but smaller strikes, fuel shortages and demos are expected to continue - here's a look at what's happening over the next seven days.


It might not have seemed like it from the headlines, but actually the whole of France is not on fire, and for most people life is continuing fairly normally.

There is, however, significant disruption from strikes and demos. Tuesday saw another day of mass transport strikes and marches, with the next 'day of action' planned for Thursday, April 6th. 

In Paris waste collectors have started to return to work after the CGT union called an end to the ongoing action in order to 'regroup'. This doesn't necessarily mean there won't be further strikes in the days to come, but it means that the city can continue the task of clearing the estimated 8,000 tonnes of uncollected waste that are still on the capital's streets.

However, some unions are continuing with 'rolling' strikes, which means that disruption continues even outside the big strike days. Rail services remained disrupted on Wednesday, but were expected to improve on Thursday.

Here is what the rest of the week will look like:


On the railways, SNCF said that high-speed TGV and Ouigo trains were to run at almost normal frequency. Intercités will run two trains out of three on average, and regional TER services will run four trains out of five on average. International rail services were expected to run according to 'almost normal'  timetables.

On Thursday, some delays on Paris region 'Transilien' lines are to be expected.

Keep in mind that detailed strike timetables are produced at 5pm each day.


The ongoing air traffic controllers' strike means that around 20 percent of flights in and out of Paris Orly and Marseille airports on Thursday will be cancelled. Other flights should be unaffected by cancellations, but there may be knock-on effects including delays. 

Blockades of oil refineries continue and shortages of petrol (gasoline) and diesel continue to cause shortages  at service stations around the country, although there are big differences between regions. As of Wednesday, 12.5 percent of fuel stations in France were short at least one type of fuel, while five percent were completely out of fuel.

The most impacted areas remained in France's west and south. 

As for the city of Paris, about one in three fuel stations reported being short at least one type of fuel on Wednesday.

MAP Where in France are fuel blockades causing shortages

Wildcard actions - although most of the strike action is declared in advance, over the last week there has been an increasing number of 'surprise' strikes or demos targeted at a certain service or building.

If you're in the Deux-Sèvres département in south-west France, you may see further protests at the site of the 'mega basins', where violent clashes occurred at the weekend. This is unconnected to pension protests, but has become a further flashpoint for clashes between police and radical protesters. 

Fishermen have also increased their industrial action, though this is not specifically related to pensions. In Rennes and Lorient on Thursday and Friday, fishermen will protest in front of government buildings against certain EU directives and the high price of fuel.


The more limited disruption on the railways is likely to continue, although SNCF anticipates improvements on Thursday and into Friday. Long-running strike actions generally get less disruptive over time as more and more people return to work - strikers are not paid when they are not working, so how long they can stay out depends on how much salary they can afford to lose.

On Friday, flight cancellations will impact the Paris-Orly, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes airports. At Paris-Orly, 25 percent of flights will be preemptively cancelled, and 20 percent of flights at the aforementioned airports will also be cancelled.

READ MORE: Your rights on delayed or cancelled flights in France

Unions representing oil refinery workers are also determined to continue with the blockades, despite the threat of 'requisition' to force workers back. The shortages at filling stations are cumulative, so it's likely that these will get worse if the blockade is maintained at refineries.



At the time of writing, no official marches or demos are planned for Saturday - with unions instead opting to encourage people to demonstrate on the next strike day - Thursday, April 6th.

This could therefore see a calmer weekend in the big cities, although it's still possible that violence will flare in certain limited areas. 

As for flights, French civil aviation authorities (DGAC) asked airlines to cancel 20 percent of flights operating out of the Toulouse and Bordeaux airports on Saturday. You can read more about flight cancellations over the weekend HERE.


The DGAC has announced that 25 percent of flights at Paris-Orly airport, and 20 percent of flights at the Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes airports, will be cancelled.


Next week

The next official strike day is Thursday, April 6th, and this is likely to see a similar pattern to previous strikes - disruption on national and international rail services, city public transport, flights and schools, while marches take place in towns and cities across France.

On Friday, April 7th, traffic may be increased on French roads as students and families in Zone A head off for their spring holidays.

You can keep up to date with the latest announcements and detailed strike timetables in our strike section HERE



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