Public transport chaos in France as strike over pensions continues

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French commuters and tourists braced for a fifth day of public transport chaos Monday as the government prepared to respond to widespread anger over pension reform that has sparked open-ended walkouts.

President Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and senior cabinet ministers met late Sunday to discuss the contentious reform, which the country’s powerful labour unions claim will force many to work longer for a smaller retirement payout.

General strike in France
French railway police officers regulate the platform of a Paris to suburb train (RER) during a general strike action at Gare Du Nord train station in Paris, France, 09 December 2019. Unions representing railway and transport workers and many others in the public sector have called for a general strike and demonstration to protest against French government’s reform of the pension system. EPA-EFE/YOAN VALAT

As both the government and unions vowed to stand firm, businesses started counting the costs of the strike which began last Thursday when some 800,000 people took to the streets across France in a mass rejection of plans to introduce a single, points-based pension scheme, unifying 42 existing plans.

The stoppages stranded commuters, closed schools, and hit tourism and Christmas retail.

Via France 24

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