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More travel chaos as French pension strikes continue

Rail and public transport services hit ahead of another mass protest against the government's planned reforms on Tuesday

Traffic jams peaked at 600km in Ile-de-France at rush hour on Monday, as commuters again struggled into work on the 12th day of the rail and public transport strike over pension reforms.

Ahead of another planned mass protest on Tuesday, one in three planned TGV services were running on Monday, along with a quarter of Transilien trains and 4 out of 10 TER trains. In Paris, a total of metro lines remain closed throughout the day, while others ran a limited service and one in two RER A trains and one in three RER B trains ran during peak hours.

About 50% of normal bus services are scheduled to run in Paris on Monday, but strikers are again picketing depots across the capital.

To make things more difficult on the roads at the start of the new week, lorry drivers are blockading a number of industrial zones as they stepped up strike action over pay and conditions. Blockades began at the wholesale market of Lyon-Corbas (Rhône) at 04:30, while an industrial zone, to the east of Vannes, was also blocked off by protesting lorry drivers.

With little apparent sign on the pension strikes being called off soon, trades unionist Laurent Berger on Monday called for a Christmas truce in an interview with franceinfo on Monday morning.

Unions, however, have hinted that they plan to continue their protests through the holiday period. They are expecting another big turnout Tuesday to protest against the government's planned pension reforms, after between 800,000 and 1.5million marched on December 5, the first mass walkout of the current strikes.

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