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Thousands on the streets as strikes disrupt French trains and planes

Europe
22.03.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Paris (dpa) - Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in France on Thursday as strikes for pay rises and against President Emmanuel Macron‘s reform plans disrupted train and air travel.

State railway company SNCF said that 60 per cent of high-speed TGV trains and 50 per cent of regional services were cancelled.

Air France said it expected to operate all its long-haul flights but only 60 per cent of short-haul flights due to strike action by air traffic controllers. It has also warned of cancellations on Friday due to separate strike action by its own staff.

Airports in the Paris region warned passengers to check their flight status with their airlines.

Public servants, including the air traffic controllers, are demanding a pay rise and are also opposed to government plans to recruit more staff on ordinary employment contracts.

Railway workers, meanwhile, are protesting against government plans to open lines to competition and recruit new staff on ordinary employment contracts, phasing out their current civil servant-like status.

They are planning to strike two days out of every five throughout the months of April to June.

In the western city of Nantes, police said that an 8,500-strong march was marred by outbreaks of vandalism. Eight people were arrested and six officers suffered minor injuries.

Police in Paris said 49,000 demonstrators took part in protest marches.

The hardline CGT union and the radical left also took to the streets last year against legislation intended to make employment law more flexible, but the protests fizzled out.

 

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