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French Transit Strikes Threaten Holiday Travel

by Eben Diskin Dec 16, 2019

Transportation strikes in France have been causing mayhem for 12 consecutive days, and as the holidays are approaching, travelers are becoming anxious about their travel plans.

Changes to the pension system promised by French President Emmanuel Macron during his presidential campaign are coming, and in an attempt to prevent the overhaul, unions are relentlessly organizing strikes, blocking the entire country.

This morning, over 370 miles of traffic jams in and around Paris were reported, more than double the usual average traffic congestion of 155 to 186 miles. Commuters are opting to drive to work today as eight Metro lines are shut down and the rest of the Metro, trains, buses, and trams are heavily disrupted.

On Tuesday, December 17, unions are expected to stage a third day of protest marches with teachers and other public sector workers.

Although the government has been putting pressure on unions to end the strikes before the holidays, unions don’t seem to be budging. The CGT rail workers union even issued a grim “No truce at Christmas” warning last week, unless the government withdraws its planned pension reforms.

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