Strikes to disrupt French trains, flights, schools Thursday

25 March, 2018, 00:45 | Author: Kristopher Anderson
  • Rail workers are gearing up to fight for their rights

The strike was expected to lead to the cancellation of 60 percent of fast trains, 75 percent of inter-city trains and about 30 percent of Paris airports' flights throughout the day.

The main protest in Paris was scheduled to start in the afternoon.

As a result of the strikes hundreds of flights and train services were cancelled and scores of schools and creches closed their doors on Thursday.

The public sector employs over 5 million people, and many of them have pretty generous working conditions - French railway workers can retire at 52, for example - which Macron says are outdated, stemming from the days when these jobs entailed hard manual labor.

Only 40 percent of high-speed TGV services will be running on Thursday, and four Eurostar trains between London and Paris have been cancelled.

"It's a real mess", said Didier Samba, who missed his morning commuter train to the Paris suburbs and had more than an hour's wait for the next.

Following a time-consuming dinner discussion, leaders of the European Union (EU) on Thursday gave credence to Britain's allegation that "highly likely" Russian Federation is responsible for poisoning a former spy on British soil, in which Moscow has denied any involvement.

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Public servants want better wages and are protesting against the planned loss of 120000 jobs by 2022, while employees of SNCF reject a government plan aimed at adapting the company before opening of the service to competition. More than 100 marches were planned across the country on Thursday.

His partner, who lived with him in Carcassonne, was detained on Friday, Molins said, while a legal source said a friend of Lakdim's had also been taken into custody Saturday. Next, he's planning to overhaul jobless benefits, simplify France's retirement systems and streamline parliamentary procedures. He already used this strategy to pass labour reforms in September, which loosened France's strict regulations on hiring and firing workers.

"We will never forget his heroism, his bravery, his sacrifice".

While unions have struggled to rally crowds over the past months, this is the first protest against Macron bringing together public sector workers and railway staff, potentially spelling trouble for the government ahead of a rolling rail strike. His government says the behemoth rail operator in particular is crying out for reform, saddled with 46.6 billion euros ($57.3 billion) of debt.

Outlining his plan a year ago, Macron said that his reform package would aim to give companies more hiring and firing flexibilities, more power to negotiate working conditions directly with employees and less financial risk in cases of wrongful dismissals. "It is a provisional assessment as it could unfortunately get worse".

Macron has so far been spared the scale of industrial action seen under his Socialist predecessor Francois Hollande, but tensions have been growing.

An estimated 200,000 people took to the streets to express their objections to several of the moves initiated by Macron. Retirees have come out to demonstrate over tax changes that reduce their pensions and prison guards staged almost two weeks of protests in January over security risks and poor pay.

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