France grinds to a halt with fresh wave of strikes across the country

Workers marched on Paris against a pension reform that proposes raising the country’s retirement age to 64.

EMMANUEL Macron might have a fresh term in office, but that hasn’t stopped past problems from resurfacing. Mass strikes were called across the country on ‘Black Thursday’, on January 19 in vast swathes of society, from school teachers to public transport workers.

Workers from more than 200 sectors staged strikes over pension packages as a bill reaches parliament to raise the country’s age to stop work from 62 to 64. The reform is deeply unpopular, with 68 per cent of the public opposing it.

Thousands of workers took to the street in protests in the country’s largest cities of Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Marseille, Bordeaux and Nantes, where the biggest unions also had a strong presence.

The transport sector was the most affected by the strike action with public transports grinding to a halt in many cities or were limited to skeleton services. Transport between France and the UK was also affected with Eurostar workers also walking out.

Education was also disrupted with 65 per cent of secondary teachers on strike according to the union while the Ministry of Education reported it as 35 per cent.

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