Biggest transport strike in 12 years brings Paris to a halt amid anger at Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms

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Paris floor to a halt on Friday as the largest transport strike for 12 years was held in protest at French President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms.

A Black Friday of stoppages noticed 10 of the French capital’s 16 underground Metro traces shut fully, whereas the others had been working on a restricted service throughout rush hours solely. 

This led to harmful overcrowding on platforms and contained in the few trains that truly ran. 

“It’s absolute chaos,” stated Kalyn Antoun, a commuter who was making an attempt to achieve La Défense enterprise district from the Gare du Nord shortly after 9am.

“Many people, including tourists, don’t know there’s a strike on, so the crowds are frightening. Nobody should have to put up with this.”

Suburban rail providers had been additionally badly affected, as some 170 miles value of site visitors jams had been reported within the better Paris area – greater than double the quantity for a traditional Friday.

Protesters carrying the flags of main commerce unions together with the CGT (Basic Confederation of Labour) additionally rallied across the headquarters of Paris transport operator RATP. 

Different public sector employees are planning to affix within the strikes and demonstrations subsequent week, heralding an autumn of distress for Mr Macron.

He has introduced plans for a common pension that may substitute the present system of a number of sorts of retirement plans for various trades and professions.

Paris Metro employees at the moment get pleasure from early retirement as younger as 51, whereas on common they cease working at 55, on pensions of round €3000 (£2670) a month.

This compares to most French employees retiring at 63, many on far much less beneficiant phrases. 

On Thursday, Mr Macron’s prime minister, Edouard Philippe, stated he wished a fairer system for everyone – one that may not place such a excessive burden on taxpayers.

“We’re going to construct a truly universal system where every euro paid in will provide the same rights for everyone, whether a labourer, a shop owner, a researcher, a farmer, a civil servant, a doctor, or an entrepreneur,” stated Mr Philippe.  

Paris transport was final badly hit by a collection of strikes in 2007, when employees went on strike in opposition to a plan by the then president, Nicolas Sarkozy, to scale back early retirement advantages for 500,000 public staff. 

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