UPDATED: Strikes in France: May 2024 dates and how you could be impacted

Action set to affect many sectors including trains and rubbish collection 

Strike action may also come with demonstrations across major French cities, including in the capital.
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May can feel like a month where everything comes to a halt in France. A number of public holidays, school breaks, and the deadline for unused paid leave falling at the end of the month all combine, meaning many people take time off of work. 

However, this year, the slowdown may be just as much due to strike action.

A number of unions have called for strike action in the latter half of the month, ranging from single days of intense action to extended protest action.

In some of the latter cases, this action is set to last until the end of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in September. 

Below, we look at the main dates strike action has been called for, the sectors concerned, and what services will be affected. 

Pharmacists – May 18 - 20, May 30

The leading pharmacist union in France is calling on stores to close on Thursday, May 30, in protest over medicine shortages and economic issues affecting pharmacy owners.  Up to 90% of pharmacies are expected to close in some areas.

Read more:  Strikes in France: protests to close many pharmacies this week

A strike of on-call pharmacists on the weekend of May 18 - May 20 is also set to take place. 

Read more: Pharmacists set to stage national strike in France

Firefighters in Île-de-France – May 16

Firefighters in and around the French capital will strike on Thursday May 16, over working conditions and safety regulations. 

Unions say staff numbers are too low to keep all Parisians safe, and that more needs to be done to respect safety regulations for workers. 

They are also asking for a bonus for working during the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the city this summer. 

Strikes by firefighters are heavily regulated, and minimum service rules mean there will still be both voluntary and professional firefighters on call this day.

Paris rail workers – May 21

National rail workers conducting services around the French capital are calling for a strike on Tuesday, May 21, over working conditions and bonuses offered during the Olympic period. 

Unions say the bonuses are not enough for the work that will be required. 

Local Transilien (commuter rail) and RER services that cross through the capital will be mostly affected.

Although the strike is happening in conjunction with action by Parisian public transport workers, the two are not directly linked.

In addition, the strike will not impact trains travelling further afield to or from the capital, with national services currently remaining untouched.

A nationwide strike of ticket inspectors that was set to take place in May was cancelled earlier this year. 

RATP Parisian public transport staff – May to September

A renewable strike by workers at the RATP – which runs Paris’ public transport services – has been in place since February. 

Major unions including the CGT called for the action over low pay and working conditions.

The action will last until September 9 i.e the end of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, although the notice is more like a warning that strike action could happen on any of the days in this period.

Services will not be impacted everyday, but those travelling in Paris are recommended to check if disruptions are announced during the time they are in the capital.

Refuse workers in Paris – May 14 - 16, May 22 - 24 

Refuse workers (éboueurs) will strike over two separate periods this month in the French capital over pay increases and an Olympic bonus. 

Another strike – between July 1 and September 9 – is also scheduled if demands are not met. 

Strikes by refuse workers were prominent in media portrayals of strikes in 2023 over pension reforms, with photos and videos of Paris’ trash-strewn streets widely shared.

Read more: Paris mayor kicks up a stink over bid to end bin collectors’ strike

Read more: Plus belle to poubelle: My walk through Paris’ rubbish-filled streets

Teachers and school workers – May 14 

Teachers will walk out of schools across France on Tuesday (May 14) over changes to the national education curriculum. 

These changes were proposed by current prime minister Gabriel Attal when he was Education Minister. 

Parents are advised to contact schools and check local information points, as closures are expected. 

A number of demonstrations and marches will take place across France. 

Radio and TV workers 

Staff at major public service broadcasters in France are striking over plans to merge the several groups into one media conglomerate. 

Strike action is taking place on May 23 and 24, with other days later in the month (May 28) and next month also expected. 

Unions say merging services would impact jobs, as well as the quality of the broadcasts, particularly for radio shows.

Read more: Why TV and radio stations are on strike in France

Air Traffic controllers - May 23 - May 30

A strike by the second-largest air traffic control union will see up to 70% of flights to and from Paris Orly cancelled on Saturday, May 25. 

A national strike by the third-largest union is in place between May 23 and May 30, which may disrupt travel from a number of airports. 

Both of the unions rejected the agreements offered by the DGAC last month (although the largest air traffic control union, which represents around 60% of workers in the sector, accepted).

Civil servants – May to September 

Civil servants across a number of sectors may strike until the end of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, with multiple unions filing for action. 

The strikes concern working conditions (including teleworking and the right to disconnect), and the impact of the Olympic Games on services. 

Similar to the RATP strikes, it does not mean workers will strike continuously, but that services may be affected by walkouts at any time during this period. 

There will also be a major strike of private hospital staff from June 3. 

Read more: June strike call for private clinics and hospitals in France