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Paris transit workers strike causes commuter chaos

November 10, 2022

Rail workers in the French capital are seeking higher pay while pressuring the government over a planned pension overhaul bill. The one-day strike will severely limit public transport.

Two men talk to an SNCF worker
Parisian commuters at Gare du Nord seek information as many train lines are shut downImage: Michel Christophe/abaca/picture alliance

Public transport workers in the French capital went on strike Thursday, leaving commuters and tourists scrambling for alternative transport. 

Workers unions in France are protesting  a potential pensions overhaul bill that French President Emmanuel Macron could bring to parliament. It would require millions of people to work longer before taking up retirement. They are also demanding higher pay in light of high inflation. 

Ahead of the strike, Paris's public transport operator RATP said it would shut down nearly every Metro line and would only operate with limited rush-hour service. It urged people to stay at home when possible. Other reports said a third of all metro lines were closed as of Thursday afternoon. 

Many commuters decided to work from home or cycle to work.

travelers in the rer B during the new transport strike movement launched by all the RATP unions
There were some major disruptions caused in the commuter train lines RER A and BImage: Michel Christophe/abaca/picture alliance

The two main suburban rail lines called RER A and B were also heavily disrupted. They connect central Paris with Disneyland as well as the Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports. 

Call for nationwide strikes 

Thursday's strike is also planned to include a protest march in Paris due to kick off in the afternoon that threatens to shut down major traffic arteries. 

The CGT union, which organized the strikes, had called for workers to go on strikes nationwide. However, the Paris transport strike did not spill over into other sectors.

In recent weeks, French unions have staged strikes in several sectors seeking pay hikes or increased hiring.

Inflation fueling widening strike in France

los/wmr (AP, AFP)