French public transport operators SNCF and RATP have warned motorists to expect heavy traffic on Tuesday and widespread disruption to metro and train lines ahead of renewed industrial action against the government’s proposed pension reforms.
This latest round of strikes, which began on Friday, follows President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 and scrap pension contracts, allowing civil servants to retire in their fifties.
Train drivers, industrial, gas and electricity workers, as well as teachers, are all expected to walk out on Tuesday while union representatives have said these strikes will continue for a long time.
Only one train out of five will run as scheduled on the Inoui, Ouigo and TER TGV networks, and only two trains out of three will be operating on the international Thalys and Eurostar lines.
The Force Ouvrière-UNCP union renewed calls for mobilization from Sunday night with blockades placed in industrial zones around major cities.
There were also reports of traffic jams on Monday morning near the northern city of Lille
In Paris, officials said metro service will be restricted on most lines, mainly during rush hour, except for lines 1, 14 and 4 on Tuesday.
Up to 1.4 million people are expected to take part in protests, with 60-90,000 demonstrators in Paris alone, police said.
In the air, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) has asked companies to reduce their flight times on Tuesday and Wednesday, by 20% in Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle and by 30% in Paris-Orly, Beauvais, Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Nantes , Marseille, Montpellier, Nice and Toulouse.
Production cuts that began on Friday were still in place at many power plants on Monday morning, according to the CGT union.
The CGT has also called for new strike action in refineries, the oil and chemical industry, as well as the car and steel sectors, with the aim of “blocking the entire economy”, in terms of production, distribution and fuel imports.
While the CGT general secretary said the strikers were ready to “bring the French economy to its knees” to achieve their goals, the government has sought to discourage strike action.
Public Act and Accounts Minister Gabriel Attal warned that these disruptions will instead bring workers to their knees, rather than the economy, and called on unions to act “responsibly”.
Asked about the strikes on Saturday as he wrapped up a tour of African countries, President Macron said he had “nothing new to say” on the subject.