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Record turnout for pensions protests

Strike continues to affect SNCF, RATP and local services in 85 towns and cities around France today

12 October 2010

TRADE unions have claimed a record turnout for yesterday's street protests against pension reforms, as open-ended strikes continue to affect public transport this morning.

According to the CFDT and CGT unions, 3.5 million people took to the streets in towns and cities around France. The interior ministry puts the figure at 1.23 million.

The success was put down to the presence of lycée and university students, however prime minister François Fillon said it was "irresponsible" for the left-wing parties to have encouraged young people to join the protests.

The SNCF reported 40.4 per cent of staff were on strike. The effect at the RATP was limited, with three-quarters of metros running normally.

Strike turnout in schools was down, with 22 per cent of teachers not working, down from 29 per cent last time. All classes should resume this morning.

The next demonstrations are scheduled for Saturday, but the strike continues today at the SNCF, RATP and 85 local public transport authorities.

A third of TGVs and Corail trains running, 40 per cent of TER services and a normal timetable on Eurostar. Every station will have a list of the trains that are running. Tickets will be accepted on alternative trains on the same route.

Air travel should no longer be affected: Air France's 24-hour strike has ended and air traffic controllers are back in work.

Some targeted power cuts are still likely and about a dozen oil refineries remain blockaded.

The Eiffel Tower, which closed to tourists yesterday lunchtime, is open again this morning.

The Senate and the National Assembly have both voted in favour of the key elements of the law: raising the retirement age to 62 and increasing the age at which anyone who does not have a full history of contributions can receive a full pension from 65 to 67.

Photo: Saturne/Flickr

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