French national strike: rail and air transport will still be hit on Friday
Thursday, 05 December 2019
Train traffic operated by France’s national state-owned railway company SNCF will remain “very disrupted” on Friday by the ongoing strike against the pension reform.
Around 90% of the TGVs as well as 70% of the TER links will be cancelled, according to management. International traffic (Eurostar, Thalys…) will also be “very disrupted” on the second day of the strike, according to reports.
Concerning the TER, the “30% of the average traffic” promised will be “mainly provided by bus”, the management indicated. In the Paris region, SNCF will run “an average of 15%” of Transilien trains, and Intercity train traffic will also be “very disrupted”.
Air France has already announced that it will cancel 30% of its domestic flights and nearly 10% of its medium-haul flights on Friday.
The protest also saw its first violent incidents on Thursday just before 4:00 PM in Paris. A construction trailer was flipped over and burned down and several windows were broken not far from the Place de la République, while the police were subjected to projectile fire and retaliated with tear gas fire.
A total of 245 meetings and marches in cities across France are planned on Thursday, in a nation-wide strike organised by unions and workers attempting to push back against planned government reforms of the French pensions system.
On Twitter, an MEP for the Belgian PTB labour party said a support group was travelling to France by car to “express their solidarity” with French workers’ plight for “good pensions,” adding that social resistance in Belgium forced former Prime Minister Charles Michel to scrap a similar points system pension.
The reform would see the country’s current pensions system, comprised of several different schemes, replaced by a unified, points-based one, doing away with schemes which particularly benefit some workers, like rail or public service workers, with unions arguing that, for a fair pension, employees will be forced to work into a later age.