Strike by public transport workers in Lille may delay Olympic torch

Workers are protesting over the level of bonuses to be paid for working during the Games

The strike has been called to coincide with the passage of the Olympic Torch

Workers across Lille’s public transport network are on strike today (July 2) over bonuses paid out during the Olympic Games. 

The action – which will see metro, bus, and tram services in the city affected – has been called to symbolically coincide with the passage of the Olympic Torch, which passes through the city today. 

As of now, there are no further calls to strike during the Olympic Games, however workers may follow the example of staff at Paris’ major airports, who are threatening to walk out throughout July and August. 

Read more: Paris airport strike threat looms over Olympic Games

Trams will run on average once every 15 minutes, and not serve major stops including the Lille Europe station. 

Buses are running on a modified schedule, and on the city’s metro, trains will run at a lower frequency. 

Unions claim that an agreement over expected bonuses during the Olympic period have still not been ratified with less than a month to go before the Games begin. 

In addition, they say that workers are being “punished” by management for a previous strike over the bonuses dispute held on June 21 – the evening of the Fête de la musique.

One million visitors expected in city

The city will host matches in both the handball and basketball tournaments during the Games, and is expecting to receive around one million visitors during the event.

In light of the Games’ commitment to sustainability, these visitors will be encouraged to take public transport to attend matches at the Stade Pierre Mauroy, and in general during their stay.

Workers across Lille’s public transport network Ilévia have not been able to take holidays whilst the event is ongoing, so that public transport can run more frequently during the Games.

Due to this unions are seeking a flat €500 bonus for all Ilévia workers, as well as a €50 bonus per day working whilst the Games are on (July 27 – August 11). 

The Olympic Torch is set to arrive in the city this afternoon after traversing parts of the Nord department. Its route, however, may be delayed by the strike. 

Read more: Day by day: Where Olympic torch will pass in France on way to Paris