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Strikes against pension reforms to disrupt French rail and air traffic on Tuesday


French police stand on position amid clashes near the Invalides during a demonstration against French government’s pension reform plan in Paris as part of a national strike and protests in France, January 31, 2023. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

French train and air services are expected to be heavily disrupted on Tuesday by a nationwide strike against pension reforms, the national railway and civil aviation authorities said on Sunday.

Rail operator SNCF said that only around half of the usual number of high-speed rail services on domestic lines would be running, while one out of four on the Eurostar line to London would not operate.

Separately the civil aviation authority said delays and disruptions could be expected at airports even though it would activate minimum service guarantees. It said it had asked airlines to reduce flights by 20% out of Paris’s Orly airport.

France faces its third nationwide strike since the government presented plans last month to raise the pension age by two years to 64, with unions representing energy sector workers, teachers, civil servants and others also taking part.

More than 1.2 million people took part in the protests during the last strike day on Tuesday Jan. 31, up slightly from during the first nationwide demonstration on Jan. 19.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne offered on Sunday to slightly soften the government’s plans by letting some people who started work before reaching 22 years old also to retire early, hoping to win the support of conservatives in parliament.