International

France crippled by biggest national strike in years

A nationwide strike has severely disrupted schools and public transport across France.

Workers are angry at being forced to retire later or face reduced pensions.

Police, lawyers and hospital and airport staff are joining school and transport workers for a general walkout that could include millions of people.

France’s largest nationwide strike in years was agreed by unions unhappy with President Emmanuel Macron’s plans for a universal points-based pension system.

Authorities have been trying to put in place plans to mediate the disruption.

French newspaper Le Monde described Thursday as “the moment of truth for Macron”, writing: “The next days are a decisive test for the head of state.”

How bad is the transport chaos?

Public transport will be seriously tested, with 90% of high-speed TGV and intercity trains cancelled. In Paris, just five of the city’s 16 metro lines are running.

Some regional train services will not run at all. International services such as Eurostar and Thalys will be affected, and Eurostar has announced a reduced timetable until 10 December.

Hundreds of flights have also been cancelled. Air France said it would cancel 30% of internal flights and 30% of short-haul international flights, amid walk-outs by air traffic controllers.

Low-cost carrier EasyJet has cancelled 223 domestic and short-haul international flights, and warned passengers to expect delays. BBC

 

Picture- REUTERS