France: Transport and energy strikes begin

Workers fighting to defend their pension rights have launched a second strike.

Submitted by jef costello on November 14, 2007

This time the strike is reconductible, meaning that although it is not an unlimited strike it is renewable on a daily basis. The strike warning given by the unions was for a strike beginning from 8pm on Tuesday.

The strike began early in Lille where workers begin cancelling trains from midday, in Marseille action also began early after a staff member was assaulted. The metro system in Paris is virtually shut down, with just one train in four running on line 1 and a full service on the automated line 14. The Paris Transport authority (RATP) claims one in ten buses and trams will be running. Two of the suburban lines are expected to have no service at all.

The French rail company (SNCF) has stated that 90 out of the usual 700 TGV services will run, eurostar services are unaffected, the international Thalys service can expect delays. For the regional trains both the TER and Corail services are expected to be almost completely shut down by strike action.

National energy supplier EDF was hit as a third of its staff walked out, reducing power output by 12%. Blackouts have not yet resulted.

The national co-ordination committee for the student strikes had called for solidarity occupations of stations, there was a short occupation at Nanterre University and 100 students were driven back from the Gare d'Austerlitz by riot police.