top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

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

Transport will be particularly affected with some unions calling for a ‘massive’ walk out

A photo of CGT union workers holding flags during a strike

Workers from across sectors and multiple unions are set to strike on January 31, and some have called for action before and after too Pic: Jean-Marc RICHARD / Shutterstock

Workers from the transport, education and fuel refinery sectors are among those set to join next week’s day of strike action against pension reform on Tuesday January 31.

The new day of strikes comes after unions hailed the January 19 action a success when over one million people took to the streets nationwide to protest.

We recap the expected disruption:

SNCF

  • All four unions at the rail operator SNCF are calling for “massive” action (CGT Cheminots, SUD Rail, Unsa Ferroviaire and CFDT Cheminots) 
  • The strike could start much earlier with a strike notice stating the times as from 19:00 today (Wednesday, January 25) to Thursday, February 2 at 8:00. 
  • Two of the unions (CGT Cheminots and SUD Rail) have also called for strike action on Tuesday February 7 and Wednesday  February 8

However, it is not yet clear to what extent rail traffic will be disrupted.

On January 19, 46% of railway workers declared themselves to be on strike and there was significant disruption to the network.

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

RATP

  • No official strike call has been issued yet
  • However, on January 19, there was significant disruption as some lines were closed, many regional services were cancelled, and many Metro lines only operated during rush hour 
  • The union FO has called for a daily one-hour strike starting from January 31 on the metro. 70% of drivers on the Parisian metro belong to the FO. 

A representative from the union FO told Le Parisien: "All we can say is that we feel the anger. And if we enter into an unlimited strike, it could be difficult for the government.” 

Airports

  • Airport unions at Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris are calling to join the strike on January 31

The last strike resulted in the cancellation of a quarter of all flights at the airport.

Loris Foreman, a CGT representative at Roissy, said: “So that they step back on the pension reform, we must block everything strategic, everything economic.

“There are 100,000 workers at the airport. If you block the airport, you block the economy.”

Fellow CGT rep, Nicolas Pereira, said that workers were preparing for a long fight. He said: “We are here to amplify the movement. We will also take action over holiday periods, yes.”

However, some union heads have suggested that workers will not continue to strike in the long-term if the January 31 movement is not seen as a success.

Public transport across country

Transport across other parts of the country could also be disrupted.

  • On January 19, the tramway and metro networks in Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône) experienced significant disruption
  • In Lyon (Rhône), the metro, bus and tram network stopped working from early evening

Schools

It is not yet clear whether schoolchildren and older students will need to stay at home on January 31. 

  • Education unions called for the movement to be "even stronger" than the one on January 19
  • The Sud Education union has called for a "renewable strike" from Tuesday

"We are united and determined to have this pension reform project withdrawn," the unions have written in a statement. 

The Ministry of Education said that 42.35% of teachers followed the call for strike action on January 19 in primary schools, and 34.66% in secondary schools (collèges and lycées).

Energy

Fuel refinery workers may go on strike before January 31.

  • Union CGT Pétrole has called for a 48-hour strike from January 26, and a 72-hour strike from February 6
  • It has also called for continued strikes after February 6

In a statement to the press, Eric Sellini, national coordinator of the CGT for TotalEnergies, said that the strike action would lead to reduced deliveries “throughout”, and "the stopping of shipments".

Ski resorts

  • The two main unions of ski lift employees, Force Ouvrière (FO) and the CGT, have given strike notice for January 31

Ski resort workers are set to protest against pension reforms but also changes to the unemployment insurance scheme for seasonal workers. 

However, Eric Becker, FO general secretary of the ski lifts and seasonal workers, said that the action will be limited. He said: "The lifts will operate normally from the next day: we do not want to further weaken companies already in difficulty."

Read more: French ski workers call ‘unlimited’ strike just before half-term break 

Ports and harbours

  • The fédération CGT des Ports et Docks union has already called for a 24-hour strike from January 26, for the week including January 31
  • Dockers and port workers have been called to “amplify the modalities of action"

The union is set to "continue to raise the level of struggle” in line with other CGT federations, it said. 

Read more: French port workers’ strike: UK ferries not expected to be affected

Related articles

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
Visa and residency cards for France*
Featured Help Guide
- Visas and residency cards (cartes de séjour) for France help guide - Understand when visas and residency cards are required to move to France or come for an extended stay - Applies to Britons (post-Brexit) and to all other non-EU/non-EEA/Swiss nationalities - Useful to anyone considering a move to France, whether for work or otherwise, or wanting to spend more than three months at their French second home
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now