French transport workers strike for second day

13th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Striking workers disrupted the French transport system for a second day Wednesday in their battle against pensions reform, with local and national train services affected, company officials said.

Union members in the RATP Paris transport network voted by a large majority on Tuesday to renew their strike action on Wednesday, according to the CGT union.

One train out of two was expected to run on the Paris suburban RER B line while the RER A line was expected to be normal, the RATP said. Services on the capital's metro line, badly affected on Tuesday, were expected to be "almost normal," the RATP official added.

Other unions were expected to vote on resuming strike action in an escalation of protests against the pensions plan that until now have lasted only one day.

The SNCF national rail company, which ran just one in three trains on Tuesday, said services would likely be as badly disrupted on Wednesday as union members prepared to vote on renewing the strike.

International train traffic was expected to return to normal Wednesday with Eurostar services unaffected by strike action and trains running almost at normal levels to other destinations.

Tuesday's nationwide protests were the biggest since the pensions reform battle began earlier this year, unions and police said, estimating the number of demonstrators on the streets at 3.5 million and 1.23 million respectively.

The pension reforms, which would raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, are the cornerstone of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's reform agenda as he eyes re-election in 2012.

© 2010 AFP

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