Paris metro workers join in strike action
9 November 2007, PARIS - The largest union representing Paris public transport workers decided on Thursday to join a new series of strikes next week against President Nicolas Sarkozy's pension reform plans.
9 November 2007
PARIS - The largest union representing Paris public transport workers decided on Thursday to join a new series of strikes next week against President Nicolas Sarkozy's pension reform plans.
The CGT formally said it would join the smaller SUD union in calling a strike for Wednesday which will hit metro trains and buses.
Rail workers at the state-owned SNCF plan to kick off the wave of strikes on Tuesday night while unions at the EDF and GDF electricity and gas utilities will walk off the job on Wednesday.
A first strike which started on October 18 caused several days of transport chaos around the country. But the right wing government refused to make concessions over its plans to scrap perks that allow some workers to retire as early as 50.
The "special" pensions schemes cover about half a million public employees, mostly railway workers, metro service operators and utility employees.
Five other unions at the Paris metro, bus and RER express lines have yet to decide whether they will join the protest.
The strikes are seen as the first real test of Sarkozy's resolve to push through reforms that were the centerpiece of his election campaign that won him the French presidency six months ago.
Teachers, civil servants and postal workers have called work stoppages on November 20 to protest against job cuts and back demands for higher wages.
Sarkozy has announced plans to scrap 22,900 civil service jobs in 2008 by not replacing retiring employees.
Three weeks of strikes and mass protests in 1995 forced the previous government to back down on its attempt to reform special benefits.
Subject: French news