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Regional airports impacted by tomorrow's pension strikes in France

Many trains will be running a near normal service although OUIGO and some TGV services are affected. Bin workers are now set to join growing March 7 action

Regional airports like Marseille-Provence, will see disruptions due to strike action Pic: bellena / Shutterstock

Tomorrow (February 16) will see the fifth day of protest action against France’s pension reform bill and many regional airports are joining the action for the first time.

One of France’s main unions, the CGT, is now also calling for bin and refuse workers to join the growing list of striking workers for the next day of action on March 7, which is being labelled a ‘landmark’ day of protest against the reforms.

Strike action on the French rail network is expected to be much lower tomorrow than on other days so far this year, with many lines seeing a ‘near normal’ service.

This is reported to be because the school holiday season is in full swing and unions are keen to maintain public support.

A new poll* shows that support is dwindling but only slightly with 55% of people polled now saying they oppose the reforms, a fall from recent weeks. 

The age group of 18 - 24 has seen an increase in opposition (64% against, as opposed to 58% two weeks ago).

Two-thirds of French people polled still support mobilisation, even if fewer people now say they are against the reform.

The most controversial aspect of the reforms is a plan to raise the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64.

Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne yesterday announced further concessions regarding earlier retirement for those who start work younger, in an effort to gain opposition MPs’ support.  The bill is currently under debate in parliament with the deadline for the end of this set for Friday (February 17).

Key union leaders - Philippe Martinez and Laurent Berger, general secretaries of the CGT and CFDT respectively - will join the demonstration in Albi, Tarn tomorrow. 

Union leaders have been demonstrating in Paris up to this point, but are using tomorrow's action to highlight that anger against the reform is just as strong in smaller towns, and does not exist only in big cities.

Below, we look at how travel services, schools and other services are expected to be affected tomorrow.

Air travel

Regional airports are joining in and around 20% of flights from airports in Toulouse, Marseille, Lyon, Montpellier and Nantes are expected to be cancelled.

This is the first time that many regional airports outside of Paris are joining strike action, although Toulouse's airport was forced to close at 8pm last Saturday, the fourth day of protests.

In Paris, Orly airport is due to see around 30% of flights cancelled as a result of action from air traffic controllers. No information has been given yet regarding Charles de Gaulle airport.


Disruption to train services will mostly affect local TER lines.

TGV lines on the North, East, and Atlantic branches should experience ‘near normal’ service.  TGV South-east and national OUIGO services, however, are only scheduled to have around 66% of trains running.

Local TER trains will be the hardest hit, seeing only one train out of two running on average, although detailed regional breakdowns have not yet been given.

There will be no night train services tonight.

In terms of international routes, there is no disruption to Eurostar or Thalys services from Paris, but Lyria services to Switzerland will see only one train in two running.

Anyone who is travelling is recommended to check this evening to see how their journeys may be affected.

Cross Channel Ferries

There is no information about the strikes affecting crossings on the websites of ferries running between the UK and France. However Brittany Ferries has cancelled three of the four crossings from France to Portsmouth tomorrow (from Cherbourg, St Malo and Le Havre) citing in a customer email that cancellation was due to strike action in the port. All four services from the UK to France are showing as running.

Parisian regional services

Service on metro lines will be ‘near-normal to normal’, the RATP announced, in contrast to other strike days.

Currently, there are no proposed changes to bus, metro, tramway, or RER A routes, which should run as normal.

The RER B and D will run one train out of two, with the RER C running two trains out of three.

Some Transilien services will see disruption, including the J, L, N and P lines.


The majority of schoolchildren are on holiday in France, with only schools in Zone C (which notably includes Paris) still open.

As of this morning, there has been no official call for strike action by teaching unions in Zone C.

Energy and refinery sectors

Refinery sector workers have already confirmed they will join strike action, but with stocks full, there is reported to be little risk of shortages.

The CGT has called on gas and electricity workers to go on strike for 24 hours, but energy supply will be managed and no shortages or power cuts are expected. 

So-called ‘Robin Hood’ action may still take place, however, where striking workers provide free access to energy for homes and public sites, or cut the supply to certain companies.

Read more: Thousands in France given free electricity by protesting workers

Calls for massive strike in waste sector

Yesterday (February 14) the CGT called for a ‘renewable’ strike from waste disposal services.

This will not be in place tomorrow but is due to start on Tuesday March 7, the unions’ designated day for mass action that aims to “bring France to a halt”, according to union leaders.

Read more: France braces for standstill on March 7 over pension reform protests

Although RATP services in Paris will only be slightly affected tomorrow, they have announced a renewable strike from March 7, which along with the bin worker’s proposed action, points towards March 7 as a pivotal date in the opposition to pension reform.

*Poll conducted by BVA online over February 13 and 14, with 1,001 French participants over the age of 18

Related articles

Why GPs in France are on strike and will doctor ‘no-shows’ be charged?

Why more people are supporting the retirement strikes in France


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