Strike to Cause Transport Chaos in France

World | November 13, 2007, Tuesday // 00:00
Strike to Cause Transport Chaos in France French trains are to stop in the wake of a new transport strike, expected to cause traffic chaos. Photo by

France is on the verge of a transport workers' strike on Tuesday over proposed changes to pensions.

Railway staff is to launch strike actions at 8 p.m. local time and only 90 out of 700 high-speed intercity trains are expected to run.

Paris public transport workers will reportedly stop working on Wednesday and traffic will be seriously disturbed as only one-tenth the usual number of busses and metro trains are scheduled.

The SNCF, national train and bus company announced it would make efforts not to affect international services.

Eurostar trains to London and Thalys trains to Brussels, as well as trains to the Netherlands and Germany will not stop during the strike, Bulgaria's state news agency reported.

The reason for the strike is the reform proposed by the French government that is to extend a special retirement regime from 37.5 to 40 years since 2009.

The retirement scheme was introduced after the Second World War and favors workers in the public sector with dangerous or intense arduous jobs. The government reform plans to reduce costs, paid by the state.

The transport strike may continue for an indefinite period, as SNCF and the trade unions failed to reach an agreement on Monday.

French University students, protesting over another reform, which is believed to lead to colleges privatization, have threatened to block subway and train stations on November 20, but might join the transport strike on Wednesday.

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