Transport workers in France’s capital Paris declared a strike on Friday against the government’s plans of a pension reform. The strike left massive crowds on few metro lines, triggered traffic jams and left many commuters struggling to get to work.
Ten of Paris’ sixteen subway lines were shut down completely and most of the bus and tram services were severely disrupted.
Officials reported double the normal rate of traffic backups during the morning rush hour, with jams totaling some 200 kilometers in length.
Many workers cycled, walked or stayed at home, while free rides were on offer on transport operator RATP’s e-moped and Uber’s e-bike and scooter networks.
This is the biggest strike since 2007 and the first big act against President Macron’s plan for a universal pension. The scheme proposes to replace 42 different pension schemes for different professions into one.
Members of other professions including lawyers, airline staff and medical workers have called for more strikes starting on Monday.
On average, Metro workers retire at 55 while most French workers retire at 63. Transport workers fear the reforms would force them to work longer, overturning a decades-old right to earlier retirement to compensate for the taxing nature of their work, which often involves long hours underground.
Employees on strike say, “We want to retire at a reasonable age with a reasonable pension.”
This reforms is supposedly crucial for Macron’s larger ambitious plan to reform the French Economy. The undertaking has not been popular with many in France who feel the reform agenda is going too fast, and the government has been weakened politically by sometimes violent protests in the last year.
Source : Various