Differing claims are being made over the impact of student strikes across France, with the government claiming 32 of the country’s 85 faculties are blockaded, while student leaders are claiming successful strikes in 45. The students are against reforms they claim will lead to higher inscription fees, entry selection, and creeping privatisation and want work experience to be paid.
Meetings with the Education minister have failed to allay their fears France is about to create a two-tier higher education system, with expensive prestige establishments amply funded, and poorer but cheaper universities for the majority. Railway trade unions are showing signs of strain, however, with some leaders calling for a return to work pending talks, while at the grassroots they are being ignored in some areas, notably in the south.
Transport misery thus looks likely to continue into the weekend and beyond, particularly in Paris where the bicycle and roller skates have been out in force jostling for space in the congestion.