Paris transport strikes threaten chaos Monday

13th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 13 (AFP) - Parisians and tourists could face travel headaches on Monday if public transport workers walk off the job in protest at a cancelled bank holiday, but the City of Light's main attractions should be unaffected.

PARIS, May 13 (AFP) - Parisians and tourists could face travel headaches on Monday if public transport workers walk off the job in protest at a cancelled bank holiday, but the City of Light's main attractions should be unaffected.  

The Paris transport authority has insisted that the French capital's underground metro system will run normally even if some employees fail to report to work on Pentecost Monday.  

But with all trade unions calling for work stoppages, metro and bus traffic could be disrupted. For those wishing to avoid public transport, taxis will be charging higher holiday rates.  

Service on France's rail network should run on or close to schedule on Monday, with the state-owned SNCF laying on extra high-speed and regional trains to handle increased holiday weekend passenger flow.  

In the wake of the deadly 2003 heat wave, the centre-right administration of President Jacques Chirac last year turned Pentecost Monday into a normal working day to raise EUR 2 billion (USD 2.6 billion) for the aging.  

But the French have balked at the notion of the so-called "day of solidarity", with two out of three opposing the government's decision to scrap the bank holiday.  

The threat of strikes should not affect Paris's most popular museums, like the Orsay and Rodin, which are normally closed on Monday. The Louvre will open its doors as usual, as will the Eiffel Tower.  

The French capital's main department stores - Galeries Lafayette, Printemps and Le Bon Marche - are expected to remain open on Monday.  

Elsewhere in France, public transport workers in several major cities including Lyon and Toulouse have pledged to walk off the job.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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