News, Culture & Society

Paris comes to a standstill as massive public transport strike causes 186 miles of traffic jams


Buying or leasing a car in the UK? Check MOT of car before you do.

Paris came to a standstill today as public transport worker unions protest a sweeping pension reform by French President Emmanuel Macron. 

The French capital’s public transport company, RATP, said 14 of the city’s 16 metro lines have been closed and several others, including the RER suburban rail, are severely disrupted. 

On platforms, messages in French and English warned passengers of the strike – the biggest since 2007.

Union members gather inside Paris’s public transport operator headquarters to protest against sweeping new pension reforms 

Stranded commuters wait in vain for a train at a packed out metro station in the city's worst strike since 2007

Stranded commuters wait in vain for a train at a packed out metro station in the city’s worst strike since 2007

Electronic noticeboards show bus disruptions during rush hour in today's chaotic strike

Electronic noticeboards show bus disruptions during rush hour in today’s chaotic strike

Officials have noted a whopping 186 miles of traffic jams during the morning’s rush hour, more than double the city’s normal levels.

The government issued warnings telling people to cycle to work and Parisians have taken to two wheels. 

The new pension reform is expected to make public transport workers stay in service for longer before retirement. 

Die Sokhanadu, 25, was stuck at a station on line 12, trying to get to his job working on the restoration of the Notre-Dame cathedral in the heart of the city.

He said: ‘If the metro doesn’t start running, I’m going to have to head home.’

Others worried about their evening commutes, with the RATP warning that only lines 1 and 14 – the only two which function autonomously, without drivers – would be operating after 8pm.

The RATP warned commuters yesterday that they should try to find travel alternatives and said it was financing free 30-minute rides on the Cityscoot network of electric mopeds.

US ride-hailing giant Uber is also hoping to seize the moment with two free 15-minute rides offered on the Jump electric bikes and scooters it has deployed in Paris. 

The government issued warnings telling people to cycle to work and Parisians have taken to two wheels

The government issued warnings telling people to cycle to work and Parisians have taken to two wheels

The government issued warnings telling people to cycle to work and Parisians have taken to two wheels

The government issued warnings telling people to cycle to work and Parisians have taken to two wheels

Macron's proposed pension reform will see the country's 42 different pension systems become condensed into one points-based system

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said yesterday: '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'

Macron’s proposed pension reform will see the country’s 42 different pension systems become condensed into one points-based system. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe (right) said yesterday: ‘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’

The three main RATP labour unions have called the strike 'a shot across the bow' against the pension overhaul. Pictured are commuters travelling yesterday on the eve of today's strike

The three main RATP labour unions have called the strike ‘a shot across the bow’ against the pension overhaul. Pictured are commuters travelling yesterday on the eve of today’s strike

Thousands of tourists have also been caught up in this morning’s travel chaos. 

One man from London told The Local: ‘The guy in our hotel mentioned their might be a problem but not like this.

‘I guess this is all part of the experience of visiting France.’ 

Macron’s proposed pension reform will see the country’s 42 different pension systems become condensed into one points-based system.  

Thousands of tourists have also been caught up in this morning's travel chaos. One man from London told The Local : 'The guy in our hotel mentioned their might be a problem but not like this.' Pictured are commuters waiting to board a train at the Gare du Nord subway station

Thousands of tourists have also been caught up in this morning’s travel chaos. One man from London told The Local : ‘The guy in our hotel mentioned their might be a problem but not like this.’ Pictured are commuters waiting to board a train at the Gare du Nord subway station 

Earlier reforms have already changed some of the RATP's worker rights and they fear they will have to continue to pay money into the system for longer. Pictured are commuters waiting to board a train at the Gare du Nord subway station

Earlier reforms have already changed some of the RATP’s worker rights and they fear they will have to continue to pay money into the system for longer. Pictured are commuters waiting to board a train at the Gare du Nord subway station

The RATP pension scheme currently allows workers to retire at 56 – seven year earlier than most French workers. 

Earlier reforms have already changed some of the RATP’s worker rights and they fear they will have to continue to pay money into the system for longer.  

France’s state auditor, the Cour des Comptes, says the average retirement age for RATP workers in 2017 was 55.7, compared with 63 years for most French workers.

The three main RATP labour unions have called the strike ‘a shot across the bow’ against the overhaul, the latest element in Macron’s push to bolster France’s economy and finances with a wide-ranging reform plan.

A sign at the padlocked Republique station in Paris says it is closed for a 'social movement reason'

A sign at the padlocked Republique station in Paris says it is closed for a ‘social movement reason’ 

Jean-Paul Delevoye's suggested points system pension would effectively wipe out the more advantageous pensions for a wide range of professions, including those for sailors, notaries and even Paris Opera workers

Jean-Paul Delevoye’s suggested points system pension would effectively wipe out the more advantageous pensions for a wide range of professions, including those for sailors, notaries and even Paris Opera workers

US ride-hailing giant Uber is hoping to seize the moment by offering two free 15-minute rides on the Jump electric bikes and scooters it has deployed in Paris

US ride-hailing giant Uber is hoping to seize the moment by offering two free 15-minute rides on the Jump electric bikes and scooters it has deployed in Paris

It is shaping up to be the biggest metro strike since 2007, when former president Nicolas Sarkozy pushed through a pension reform that delayed the retirement age for most public workers.

During his 2017 presidential campaign, Macron pledged not to touch the current earliest legal retirement age of 62 for most workers.

But Jean-Paul Delevoye, who is leading the reform project, has suggested a points system that would effectively wipe out the more advantageous pensions for a wide range of professions, including those for sailors, notaries and even Paris Opera workers. 

Delevoye has also proposed making a full pension only available at 64 – people who retire earlier would have to accept a lower amount. 

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said yesterday: ‘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.’

Junior Budget Minister Olivier Dussopt said that RATP workers’ pension contributions only covered 40 per cent of payouts – meaning the state was left to pay the rest.

Consultations are currently being held with labour unions and the government wants parliament to vote on the project early next year.

The government is likely to face further opposition to its plans in coming weeks, with lawyers, airline pilots and stewards, and medical workers already calling a strike for Monday.  

The transport network is expected to return to normal at 5.30am tomorrow.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.