The transport and energy workers strike which has brought much of France to a grinding halt is set to continue on Thursday. Thousands of people joined protests over the government’s plans to do away with the so-called “special pension regimes” which allow some public sector workers to retire early.
Reports of progress during initial negotiations were rejected by union members who say their contracts must be honoured. “The solution to the conflict will be keeping what we have now. It’s out of the question for us to talk about reforms which consist of lowering our pension entitlement – it’s unthinkable,” one protestor said.
Although fewer than a quarter of trains ran normally after staff walked out Tuesday night, not many people took the risk of being stood-up early this morning with train stations largely deserted. But the situation was dramatically different in Paris for millions of people who chose to take to the roads.
Tailbacks stretching to 300 kilometres were reported – double the daily average. But not everyone was stuck in traffic jams for hours. Some took advantage of the capital’s latest and greenest transport system – the bicycle hire scheme.