Unions in France warn of disruption during King Charles III visit

‘We’ll greet him with a good old-fashioned general strike,’ said one boss, ahead of the Paris and Bordeaux official visit next week

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Unions in France have said King Charles III and Camilla the Queen Consort should expect disruption from strikers during their official visit to France next week.

The royal couple is set to be in France from March 26 to 29.

It will be the King’s first state visit abroad since he succeeded his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, in September 2022.

It will include appointments in Paris and Bordeaux.

Read more: Charles III chooses France for his first state visit abroad as king

‘Good old-fashioned strike’

However, union bosses have warned that the couple will be visiting during a time of strikes and pension upheaval, and said they could expect disruption.

Olivier Besancenot, the spokesman of the left-wing NPA political party, told FranceInfo: “We'll greet him with a good old-fashioned general strike.”

Referring to Bordeaux, Pascal Mesgueni, staff delegate at the union CFTC des transports urbains TBM, said: “No driver will want to drive him.” He warned that there will also “be a lot of people on the streets”.

Paris is also still suffering from a lack of rubbish collections, disruption on public transport, and a growing lack of fuel in petrol stations.

Read more: French PM survives two no-confidence votes over pension reforms

The Royal visit

The visit will include a private meeting at the Elysée with President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte, as well as a state banquet with them at the Château de Versailles.

The royal couple will also lay wreaths at the Arc de Triomphe, and inaugurate two new exhibitions at the musée d’Orsay.

In Bordeaux, they will attend the opening of a new British consulate in Bordeaux, meet members of the local Franco-British community, speak to firefighters about the devastating forest fires last year, and visit an organic vineyard.

The King and the Queen Consort were last in France in 2019, for a ceremony in Bayeux, on the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landings.

After their visit to France, the royal couple will travel to Germany.

At the announcement of the visit at the British Embassy in Paris on March 3, a spokesperson said: “This historic visit…will celebrate the relationship of the UK with France and Germany, marking our common history, culture, and values.

“It is also an occasion to look towards the future and to show the many ways in which our countries work in partnership, whether it is to fight against climate change, respond to the conflict in Ukraine, seize opportunities for trade and investment, or share the best of our arts and our culture.”

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