Strike action continues in France as unions hold firm
Strike action and disruption is continuing across France today (December 10) as unions pledge to hold out until the government concedes - but fewer people are set to march compared to last week.
Today marks the sixth day of strike action since the first major protest on Thursday December 5, with major unions including the CGT, FO, FSU, and Solidaires calling for more protests 24 hours before Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is expected to speak on the issue.
On Sunday, CGT secretary general Philippe Martinez said that the workers would “hold out until the withdrawal [of the reforms]” and that any “stalemate” would only exist because the “government would have chosen it”.
Marches are expected in Paris from mid-afternoon, along with other protest movements in cities including Grenoble, Lyon, and Rouen.
Secretary general of transport union UNSA, Laurent Escure, said: “[Tuesday] will be a big day, not necessarily at the same level as Thursday, but when it comes to our anger and expectations, it will be huge”.
Yves Veyrier, general secretary of the FO, said: "We have launched something, we are not just going to stop like that."
But while at least 800,000 people were estimated to have joined the movement on December 5, numbers are noticeably down today, especially among sectors such as education.
The education minister said that just 12.5% of education staff were expected to be on strike today, compared to 51% who joined the movement last Thursday.
Yet, action is continuing to affect major services and industry. Just one TGV train in five is set to run, with 30% of TER services, 20% of Transilien, and one in six Intercités, SNCF said.
Major attractions and theatres are still experiencing disruption, with several museums in Paris having been forced to partially close, and many theatres cancelling shows due to lack of ticket sales.
The Opéra Bastille, Opéra Garnier, the Opéra National de Paris, the Comédie Française and the Musée d'Orsay have also cancelled performances this week due to the strike, which they say has caused transport problems for their dancers, musicians, and technical staff.
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