France: Rail Strike Hits Seventh Day
The transportation workers’ strike that has halted much of France’s local, regional, and national rail transportation entered its seventh day on Tuesday, as protesters and their supporters took to the streets. Today’s developments:
On Tuesday, about half of the countries TGV trains were running. Eurostar service to London was normal. The International Herald Tribune reports that Paris Metro and bus service gradually improved during the day, with two Metro lines shut down entirely and less than half of buses running.
For Wednesday, Paris transportation officials expect one-fourth of the Paris Metro lines to be in operation. One-half of buses are expected to run, and they expect wide disruptions on regional and suburban lines.
According to France24, one-third of France’s civil servants were on strike on Tuesday. The growing list of strikers includes rail workers, teachers (elementary and high school), opera employees, newspaper printers, and postal workers.
The New York Times reports that fewer railway employees (both SNCF and Paris’ public transportation system, RATP) skipped work on Wednesday, with only about 30% calling in absent (down from 61.5% last week).
After keeping quiet for one week on the matter, President Sarkozy addressed the matter at a meeting with mayors on Tuesday, urging the workers to go back to work. Sarkozy is set to meet with union officials on Wednesday.