Lorry drivers and transport workers in France are set to strike from this evening (March 5) as part of a new anti-pension reform call to action from unions in the sector.
The unions FO Transports and SUD Solidaires transports routiers called their workers to start striking from 22:00, in action that could be extended indefinitely, the groups said.
Other road transport unions (CGT Transports, CFDT Route, CFTC Transports, and SNATT CFE-CGC) have also called for 48-hour protests to begin on Tuesday (March 7 to March 8), as part of cross-union action and national strike plans.
The action is expected to include ‘slow driving’ campaigns – dubbed ‘snail operations (opérations escargot)’ – as well as blockades of industrial zones.
Patrick Blaise, general secretary of CFDT Route, told Le Parisien: “Unions are calling to bring France to a standstill, and we will do our bit.” Patrice Clos, general secretary of FO Transports, said in the same newspaper: “We are going to clearly harden our stance, to make the government concede."
The Senate is still pushing ahead with debates on the pension reform proposals, even as strikes against the plans continue and intensify.
Secretary general of the CGT, Philippe Martinez, has said that action is set to “go into a higher gear” on Tuesday and beyond.
‘Major transport difficulties’
Transport Minister Clément Beaune has warned of major difficulties on the roads and on public transport on Tuesday, and a “real mess for those who can’t work”. He has called on everyone who can to delay journeys and to work from home if possible during the action.
The minister said that “blockading the country” would be “irresponsible”. However, he said that he still had faith that lorry drivers would “take responsibility”. He said: “They have never stopped delivering goods to supermarkets despite the fuel crisis.
“I am not ruling out targeting strikes, but I think they will be isolated cases. We are keeping dialogue open to find other solutions,” he said.
Strike action is expected to affect most public transport sectors from March 6 to 8, including on buses, trains, ferries, and even planes.