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Big day of strike action today

Schools, flights, public transport and hospitals all affected by the national strike against pension reforms

TWO million people are expected to take part in demonstrations around France today, as a big national day of strike action against pension reforms hits schools, transport and other public services.

The walkout started a day early at many schools, where teachers are also protesting against job cuts.

Primary teachers’ union Sud-Education and Snes-FSU, the biggest union for secondary teachers, both called on members to strike on Monday.

According to another union, Snuipp, 62 per cent of teachers will strike on Tuesday.

Many primary schools will be closed. Collèges and lycées will offer a minimum level of service and few lessons, if any.

The strike will also affect courts, Pôle Emploi job centres, post offices and energy supplier EDF.

There will be protests outside hospitals, and paramedics’ union Amuf says a minimum level of service will be in place for 24 hours.

Force Ouvrière general secretary Jean-Claude Mailly said he expected two million people to take part in demonstrations.

The unions are protesting against the government’s plan to raise the state pension age from 60 to 62 by 2018.

According to an Ifop poll for Ouest France, 70 per cent of the French public support the day of action.

Here is the latest information on what effect the strike will have on transport.

TRAINS

SNCF workers are due to strike until 8.00 on Wednesday morning.

Transilien (in Ile-de-France): 41 per cent of peak-time trains are running.

RER: Between 35 per cent and 60 per cent of services operating normally on lines C, D and E. Half of trains are running on RER A, but hardly any at all on RER B.

Paris metro: Normal service on automated lines 11 and 14. Between a third and two thirds of trains running on the other lines, except line 10, where just one train in four will run. A near-normal service is expected on buses and trams.

TER: Nationally, about half of local TER services will be running, but the percentage will vary from one region to the next. See www.ter-sncf.com for your region’s provisional timetable.

TGV: 40 per cent of trains into and out of Paris will operate, 50 per cent on the north and east mainlines, but only 20 per cent of province-province trains (bypassing Paris) are scheduled to run.

International trains: Eurostar will run a normal service, and Thalys is operating 80 per cent of trains. Ellipsos (to Spain) and Artesia (to Italy) services are cancelled.

Corail: Only 25 per cent of daytime Téoz services are running, and no Lunea night trains at all.

Passengers with a reservation on a mainline TGV or Corail train will be able to travel on any service without modifying their booking, but a seat is not guaranteed.

The SNCF will allow travellers to cancel their ticket at no cost, regardless of the conditions attached to the ticket.

FLIGHTS

Air France expects to run 90 per cent of flights as scheduled from Paris Charles de Gaulle, but only 50 per cent from Orly.

Air traffic controllers are also taking part in the strike. About a quarter of flights into and out of Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports have been cancelled. Regional airpots are also affected. Check before you fly.

USEFUL LINKS

SNCF: www.sncf.com or 0805 90 36 35
Local TER services: www.ter-sncf.com
Mainline services: www.infolignes.com
Live station departure boards: www.gares-en-mouvement.com
Transilien trains in Paris: www.abcdtrains.com
RATP (Paris public transport): www.ratp.fr or 0800 15 11 11
Air France: www.airfrance.fr

Photo:milphoto - Fotolia.com "

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