top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

France strikes January 31: Travel will be heavily disrupted

Major issues are expected to trains, TGVs and some flights. The government advises people to work from home and delay trips if they can

A photo of protesters marching against pension reform, with a sign against the proposed minimum age of 64

Another day of protests will take place tomorrow, with protesters especially against raising the minimum retirement age to 64. Major disruption is expected Pic: Hadrian / Shutterstock

[Updated 15:30 - Half of primary teachers are expected to be on strike tomorrow, the main union for this sector has announced. Up to two million people are expected to join the protest]

Transport in France is to be heavily disrupted tomorrow (Tuesday, January 31) as workers across multiple unions walk out in a second day of protests against the government’s planned pension reforms.

Transport Minister Clément Beaune warned: “It will be a difficult, even very difficult, day on public transport.

“So as many people who can work from home or delay their travel, the better, because there will be severe disruption.”

He added: “I will do everything I can, with SNCF and RATP, the largest public transport operators, to limit the impact on the daily lives and travel of people in France…it won’t be great, but we will do our best.”

How are flights affected by strike action?

A fifth (20%) of flights from Paris Orly airport are set to be cancelled due to the strikes. 

The Direction générale de l'Aviation civile (DGAC) has requested that airline companies preventatively cancel one flight in five due to strike action by air traffic controllers.

The DGAC also said that “disruption and delays are to be expected” despite the cancellations. This is because airlines themselves may be affected by work stoppages.

Air France has also announced that one in ten of its flights will be cancelled tomorrow. The affected flights are expected to be short and medium long services.

Delays may run into the next day as the aircraft may be in the wrong place.

The DGAC said: “We invite passengers who can, to delay their trip and to check with their airline before travelling to track the status of their flight.”

SNCF: TGVs and Intercités heavily impacted

One in three TGVs and one in five TERs are set to be disrupted or cancelled. In some regions, just 20% of TER services will run.

TGV services are expected to be as follows: 

  • 2 in 5 Inoui TGVs on the North route
  • 1 in 2 Inoui TGVs on the East route
  • 1 in 4 Inoui TGVs on the Atlantic route
  • 1 in 2 Inoui TGVs on the South-East route
  • 2 in 5 Ouigo TGVs nationwide

There will be hardly any Intercité services, except for one return service each on the routes of Paris-Clermont, Paris-Limoges-Toulouse and Bordeaux-Marseille.

The Lyria network between France and Switzerland will be severely affected. Only one in four other international links will run. 

In contrast, Thalys and Eurostar services are expected to be almost unaffected.

The Transilien network is also set to be disrupted. One in 10 trains will run on the J, N, P and R lines. No service is guaranteed between Melun and Montereau, via Héricy. A quarter of trains will run on Line K. 

SNCF advised people to cancel or delay their travel and to favour working from home as much as possible. Users are advised to check their trains by 17:00 tonight (January 30) and double-check tomorrow morning before travelling.

RATP: Metro and RER

The exact disruptions and services expected are to be revealed this evening (January 30). 

  • The lines 3, 5, 8, 11 and 13 are set to be partially open only with reduced services
  • 50% of trains will run on line 4, dropping to 25% at off-peak times
  • 50% of trains are expected on line 2 all day
  • Line 6 will only be open from Nation to Denfert-Rochereau, with one in three trains running at peak times from 06:30 to 09:30 and 15:30 to 19:30
  • Line 10 will only operate in the morning, with one in three trains in service
  • Lines 7, 7bis, 9, and 12 will only operate at peak times, between 06:30 and 09:30, and 16:30 and 19:30, with around one in four, or one in three trains in service.

Government is standing firm on need for pension reforms

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, who first announced the reforms, has so far held firm against the strikes. Delaying the introduction of 64 as the minimum retirement age “is not negotiable”, Ms Borne said yesterday (Sunday, January 29).

One of the major proposals of the reforms is to raise the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64. Unions say the money required for the pension system can be found in other ways such as raising tax levels for those who earn the most.

Ms Borne told FranceInfo: “That’s the compromise that we have suggested, after hearing from union organisations, having spoken with different parliamentary groups. It’s necessary to maintain the balance of the system.”

The prime minister did say that she would be amenable to a parliamentary discussion about ways to improve the use of “education” and “maternity” definitions over the course of their careers.

She said: “Today, there are many women who can’t use them completely, and we are currently analysing the situation so that they will soon be able to.”

The CGT union has not ruled out taking more action over school holidays, the first of which are set to begin on February 4, for Zone A.

In response, Mr Beaune said: “People have the right to strike but to ruin the weekends of departing or returning from holidays…is not a serious proposition.”

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has criticised the strikes, saying that the country has a “profound distrust of the value of work” and said that the political left is trying to “mess up the country”.

Related articles

France pension reform: strike and protest dates, calendar for bill

French strikes: which sectors are joining action on January 31?

Pension protests France: new strike day set after million plus march

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France