The French CGT labor union has called a strike, paralyzing large parts of the economy. Gasoline is scarce, trains and planes are grounded. Saarland's filling stations are making a killing as French drivers cross the border to fill up.
Demonstrations have turned violent in France as people protest against reforms to labor laws. President Emmanuel Macron is overhauling the state-owned railway network to rein in massive debt accumulated by the company.
Two days off, three days on: that's the pattern that will likely bring major delays to France's rail service over the next three months. The strikes will test the French president's proposals — and the unions themselves.
Even after some 200,000 people took to the streets, French PM Philippe said the government will push ahead with reforms the "French people asked for." The proposed changes were part of what got President Macron elected.
Few trade disputes can get as bitter as those between French governments and the country's strongly protected railway workers. The state-owned SNCF and the unions have won previous battles. Will this one be different?
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