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French Unions Call Paris Metro Strike as Inflation Bites

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Labour unions have called a major one-day strike for Paris public transport on Thursday, the latest industrial action to demand relief from the French government over soaring prices.

The RATP transport operator for the capital has warned of particularly severe disruptions for metro and suburban rail lines, with bus and tram services also impacted by the protest for higher wages.

Unions have staged strikes across several sectors in recent weeks seeking pay hikes or increased hiring as spiralling energy costs feed into widespread inflation.

Union leaders are also hoping to step up pressure on President Emmanuel Macron as he prepares to revive a controversial pensions overhaul that would push back the official retirement age to 64 or 65, from 62 currently.

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A similar attempt sparked massive protests two years ago, before the government abandoned the overhaul amid the Covid-10 outbreak.

But the Paris transport strike did not spill over into other sectors, with only the hard-line CGT union calling for nationwide work stoppages.

CGT official Celine Verzeletti said she expected 150 to 200 demonstrations, similar to the turnout on October 18, in the midst of long-running strikes at oil refineries that led to petrol shortages.

Thursday’s strike comes as commuters have grown increasingly frustrated with Paris public transport, with services still reduced since the Covid pandemic even though traffic levels have broadly returned to pre-crisis levels.

Former prime minister Jean Castex, who is set to take over as RATP chief in the coming weeks, will face questioning from lawmakers in the Senate and the lower-house National Assembly this week.


© Agence France-Presse. All rights are reserved.

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