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Cost of France's six-week strike tops €1billion

Prime Minister's office at Matignon warns of 'significant financial consequences' of the dispute, which is now in its 43rd day 

France's six-week public transport strike has so far cost the country more than €1billion, according to the Prime Minister's Office at Matignon

SNCF has borne the brunt of the financial hit - with the strike over the government's pension reforms costing it about €850million, Matignon estimated, as it criticised the 'significant financial consequences' of the ongoing strike. Meanwhile, the walkout has hit Paris's public transport operator RATP to the tune of €200million.

Unions have called Thursday a day of mass protests, the 16th of the ongoing strike, with marches planned in towns and cities across the country in what is being regarded as a test of support for the ongoing strike, which - outside transport unions appears to be running out of steam. The main march will take place between Montparnasse and Place d'Italie on Thursday afternoon.

Rail and public transport services continue to be hit on Thursday, though the number of strikers fell back to 4.7% of the total workforce on Wednesday. SNCF said 80% of its scheduled TGV services would operate, along with all its Ouigo services, 60% of Intercité services 80% of TER trains.

In Paris, all Metro lines are operating on Thursday, though only three lines - including the two automated lines - will run at full capacity. All other lines will face some disruption.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that talks were 'deadlocked' and that the strike, now in its 43rd day, had 'gone on too long'.

Unions have called for further protests on January 22 and 23 ahead of a 'massive day of strike action and inter-professional demonstrations' on January 24, the day the Council of Ministers is due to examine the pensions reform bill.

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