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Strikes hit French railways

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Strikes hit French railways

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The French government is feeling the heat as strikes continue to sweep the country. After school pupils, it is the turn of railway workers. One in two high speed trains and less than one in three regional services are expected to run today. The suburbs of Paris are likely to be hit even harder. “It’s nerve-wracking,” one woman said, “I don’t know if I’ll have a train to come back home.” “I’ll take my bike,” another traveller said. “I think it’s a good decision. I’m not going to take a day off for this strike”.

Rail unions say there will be more stoppages if their wage grievances are not addressed. Thousands of scientists marched through Paris to add their voices to the discontent over the government’s economic policies, demanding more funding for research. Meanwhile school pupils have been protesting against reforms in secondary education.

All of which increases pressure on the conservative administration as it tries to relax the 35-hour working week, which it says will make the economy more competitive. Critics charge it will lead to more work without better pay.