Strikes Continue

Dec 18, 2019

On 17 December 2019, trade unions across France have continued the 13th consecutive day of their strike action against a proposed pension reform. Services continue to be significantly disrupted throughout the country as workers across most public transportation sectors, including aviation, bus, rail and trams, continue their strike. National rail operator Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNCF) and Paris public transport provider Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) continue to operate significantly reduced services across the country. SNCF warned that long distance TGV trains were operating at 25% of normal capacity and Transport express regional (TER) trains were at 30% capacity. Eurostar also warned of significantly reduced services through 19 December. An air traffic controller (ATC) strike is also ongoing and is scheduled to last until 0630 local time (0530 UTC) on 18 December. While disruptions are not expected to be as significant as previous ATC strikes on 5 and 10 December, the French aviation authority Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC) has asked airlines to reduce flights to and from Paris Orly Airport (LFPO/ORY) by 20% on 17 December and has implemented minimum services procedures nationwide. British Airways canceled more than 30 flights in response to the strike, affecting approximately 5,000 customers. No further significant cancellations are expected, but travelers should contact their respective airlines to check the status of their flights.

Additionally, union leaders have organized demonstrations to take place across the country on 17 December. Thousands of people are expected to participate in the demonstrations, although turnout is expected to be low in comparison with demonstrations that occurred on 5 and 10 December. The largest demonstration is occurring in Paris, where protesters will march from the Place de la République through Place de la Bastille to reach Place de la Nation. Authorities have heightened security measures in the city due to an increased risk of violence from protesters, including closing down shops along protest routes until the evening hours, conducting precautionary checks on people and increasing police officer presence along protest routes. Additional protests are occurring in the cities of Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Privas, Toulon and Toulouse. Travelers in France should avoid all areas where large gatherings are taking place due to the probability of violence breaking out during ongoing protests.

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