© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A SNCF regional train is seen at a railway station in Nantes, as France’s trade unions announced a nationwide day of strike and protests next week against planned pension reform, France, January 13, 2023. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo
PARIS (Reuters) – France’s labour unions have made a rare joint call for major strike action on Thursday against plans by President Emmanuel Macron’s government to reform the pension system and raise the retirement age.
The largest CFDT union has described the day as a starting point while other unions have announced specific action that in some cases affects sensitive infrastructure and goes beyond Thursday:
The CGT’s sector branch for traffic control staff announced strikes from Wednesday night until Friday morning.
Two cabin crew unions and a union at Air France called on employees to attend the strike.
The CGT’s mining and energy union said it would join the strike, highlighting the fact that the planned reform would also scrap a special status for newly hired staffers of EDF (EPA:), France’s main power producer.
The union said the action might be continued beyond Jan. 19.
The banking and financial industry branch of the FO union called on employees to join the strike.
The CGT has announced healthworker strikes from Jan. 13 to 19, while the FO union called for indefinite strikes, citing a need to improve working conditions in the sector. The Unsa-Sante union has filed a strike notice from Jan. 10 until Feb. 1, citing the pensions reform specifically.
The FO union of truck drivers and other logistics workers announced “indefinite” strike action from Jan. 19 to “win the fight” against the reform.
Public sector unions made a joint call to take part in the walkout on Jan. 19, while saying the decision on individual strikes was up to representatives in each branch and institution.
All unions in the education and schooling sector said they would strike on Thursday and possibly afterwards.
RAILWAY AND PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
National rail workers as well as some employees of Paris’s RATP public transport grids – two main pillars of huge protests against Macron’s first attempt to reform the pension system in 2019 – said they would take part in the walkout on Jan. 19.
A strike notice filed with railway operator SNCF flagged potential disruption from Wednesday evening to Friday morning.
Erik Meyer, a SUD-Rail union representative, told BFM TV the union would then assess whether or not to call for more strikes.
The CGT trade union announced strikes in the refinery sector, where petrol supplies were disrupted last year during weeks of industrial action.
“One day will not be enough to make the government back down on this reform,” Eric Sellini, CGT coordinator at TotalEnergies said, announcing extra strikes on Jan. 26 for 48 hours and on Feb. 6 for 72 hours.