French motorway staff to strike this weekend: list of roads affected

Unions want more workers hired on permanent contracts. The action coincides with a ‘red’ traffic day as summer holidays begin

Many motorway toll booths are now automatic but workers may not be on hand to help when issues arise this weekend
Published Last updated

Motorway staff across the south-west of France are set to strike this weekend, potentially causing traffic jams at toll booths as the summer holiday season begins. 

The CFDT union, representing workers on motorways managed by Autoroutes du sud de la France has called for a strike between July 5 - 7 (this Friday to Sunday), claiming poor working conditions and contract disputes. 

Staff from across the company will join the action, most noticeably toll booth workers.

The Autoroutes du sud de la France are managed by Vinci Autoroutes, but not all of the latter’s roads will be affected. 

The following motorways are set to be impacted: 

  • The A10 north of Bordeaux

  • The A837 

  • The A89 between Bordeaux and Clermont-Ferrand

  • The A62 (Bordeaux-Toulouse)

  • The A64 (Hendaye-Toulouse)

  • Part of the A63 in the Basque country 

This may further exacerbate traffic in the area. 

Traffic watchdog Bison Futé has placed the south-west, along with the rest of France, on a red-alert for traffic this Saturday (July 6) as families set off for summer holidays. 

Read more: Calendar: when to expect traffic jams on French roads this summer

Disruption should be ‘minimal’

Motorway management, as well as union leaders, have said however that disruption to holidaymakers should be “minimal” providing they face no issue when paying at tolls on affected roads. 

“As long as customers don't have any problems at the tollbooth, payment will proceed normally,” said Fabrice Bergery, CFDT delegate to La Dépêche, pointing to the large number of tolls that are no longer manually staffed. 

Drivers will still be able to pay via the usual methods at automatic booths, including cash, card, and electronic passes.

“But there is a risk that there will be queues in certain places if people get stuck and need assistance,” he added, as staff members may not be on hand to help. 

Read more: LIST: where barrier-free motorway tolls are starting in France and when

Unions demand more workers over summer

Working conditions are at the heart of the dispute with the union claiming there has been a deterioration in relations between workers and management. 

It is calling for the “the rebuilding of a responsible social dialogue,” between the two, as well as better social cohesion as the number of employees continues to fall.

Amongst its demands, it is asking for immediate hiring of workers to cover the busy summer period, as well as a commitment to replace outgoing workers with those on full CDI contracts, as opposed to temporary CDD contracts.

It also wants to retain workers, saying that out of roughly 100 resignations per year, “just under half” have been filled. 

In addition, it says that letting employee numbers drop is leading to dangerous situations both for workers and drivers. 

It is unknown whether the union will take further strike action throughout the summer. As of July 4, it has not submitted a strike notice for another period.