For strike-weary French passengers, the end appears to be in sight. They are still facing disruption on the ninth day of a transport workers’ walkout. But confidence is growing the stand-off could be drawing to a close. It follows progress made in talks to settle a dispute over pension reform.
Many local union committees have responded by voting to go back to work. “The strike is terrible,” said one commuter. “But it is what the French people deserve, because they elected Nicolas Sarkozy as president.” The public transport stoppages mean more people are using cars, with gridlock the result. “I am tired, I am tired but that is how it is,” said a driver struck in a Paris traffic jam. “Everyone expresses themselves as they are able to. They can express themselves. In the private sector, we can’t really. So we suffer in silence.”
With more strikers resuming work, motorists’ misery should now ease. The showdown has been the biggest challenge yet faced by President Sarkozy since he took office in May.