France headed for more strikes in November

23rd October 2007, Comments 0 comments

23 October 2007, PARIS (AFP) - France is headed for more strikes in November after civil servants decided on a work stoppage and rail workers weighed plans for a prolonged strike amid more disruption on Tuesday.

23 October 2007

PARIS (AFP) - France is headed for more strikes in November after civil servants decided on a work stoppage and rail workers weighed plans for a prolonged strike amid more disruption on Tuesday.

Commuters in the Paris region still faced difficulties on Tuesday, five days after unions launched strike action against President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans to scrap pension benefits enjoyed by rail workers and some other public employees.

Seven unions representing civil servants decided late Monday to hold a one-day strike on November 20, saying in a statement that "the government was not considering their two priority demands -- purchasing power and public sector jobs."

Sarkozy has announced plans to scrap 22,900 civil service jobs in 2008 by not replacing retiring employees, the biggest job cut in the public sector in six years.

The eight unions representing rail workers separately decided they would meet again on October 31 to decide whether to stage an unlimited strike against pension reform starting in mid-November, a joint union statement said.

Sarkozy last month vowed he would not compromise on plans to end special benefits that allow half a million public transport and utility employees to retire as early as 50.

Rail unions staged a massive massive strike on Thursday, crippling public transport but most of the workers suspended the action the following day.

On Tuesday, the rail service between Charles de Gaulle airport and central Paris was still disrupted, with only half of trains expected to run, the national rail operator SNCF said.

Traffic centre CRIR reported 200 kilometres (124 miles) of traffic jams around Paris in the peak morning driving period.

The head of the CGT rail union Didier Le Reste said the government would be wrong to downplay the protest movement.

"When 73.5 percent of railway workers go on strike, the government should listen," Le Reste told the popular Le Parisien newspaper. "It should be seriously concerned.  It must go back to the drawing board."

Rail traffic throughout the rest of France was normal as was service on the Paris metro and bus system on Tuesday.

AFP

Subject: French news

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