French strikes latest: Protests and industrial action cripple transport, schools


Nationwide strikes and protests were disrupting schools and travel in cities across France on Tuesday, with mass demonstrations organised by unions in their ongoing battle with the government over pension reform.

The 13th day of strikes closed eight metro lines in Paris and reduced others to a limited service.

Only one in four high-speed trains are be running.

French rail workers, in particular, have been striking over proposed changes that include scrapping industry-agreed retirement plans in favor of a universal pensions system.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe unveiled reforms last week, including a change in the pivotal retirement age from 62 to 64, though people can still decide to retire at 62.

The leader of one of France’s largest unions, the CFDT, said that the adjustment in age crossed a “red line” and called for the strike to continue.

The protests were sparked by the revelation that France’s the High Commissioner for Pensions Jean-Paul Delevoye had failed to declare 13 paid and volunteer roles on his conflict of interest declaration when he entered government two months ago.

His resignation on Monday amid a scandal over his external income has failed to calm the outrage.