Trains, schools hit as French trade unions strike amid rising inflation

Trains, schools hit as French trade unions strike amid rising inflation
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PARIS, Oct 18 (Reuters) – Regional train services in France were roughly halved on Tuesday as several unions called a nationwide strike, seeking to use anger over decades of high inflation to expand a week-long industrial action at oil refineries. other sectors.

Since the strike primarily affected the public sector, there were also some interruptions in schools.

Union leaders hoped the government’s decision to force some workers back to work at fuel depots to get the fuel flowing again would be boosted.

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But a poll by Elabe pollsters for BFM TV found that only 39% of the public supported Tuesday’s call for a nationwide strike, while 49% opposed it, with opposition to a strike by refinery workers rising.

The refinery workers’ strike has become one of President Emmanuel Macron’s most strident calls since his re-election in May.

Government spokesman Olivier Veran said further demand for workers for oil refineries could come later in the day due to increased queues of motorists worried about supply cuts at petrol stations.

Veran told France 2 TV: “There will be as many demands as necessary… This is not a normal situation when we agree on the blocking of oil refineries, on wages.”

According to the Ministry of Education, less than 10% of secondary school teachers went on strike on Tuesday, and the number in primary schools was even lower. The call for a strike was mostly observed in vocational schools, where teachers opposed the planned reforms.

On the transport front, Eurostar said it was cancels some trains between London and Paris due to holidays.

France’s public rail operator SNCF said traffic was down 50% on regional links but there were no major disruptions on national lines.

Strikes have spread to other parts of the energy sector, including nuclear giant EDF, as tensions rise in the eurozone’s second-largest economy. (EDF.PA)Repairs that are crucial to Europe’s energy supply will be delayed.

On Tuesday, a representative of the FNME-CGT union said the strikes were affecting work at nuclear power plants, including the Penly plant.

The strikes come as the government prepares to pass the 2023 budget using special constitutional powers Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Sunday that this would allow a parliamentary vote to be bypassed.

Demonstrations are planned across the country, including one in Paris from 1200 GMT.

Thousands of people On Sunday, they took to the streets of Paris to protest the price increase. Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the leftist La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party, marched with this year’s Nobel Prize laureate for Literature, Annie Ernaux.

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Additional reporting by Ingrid Melander, Forrest Crellin and Juliette Jabkhiro; Edited by Angus MacSwan and Gerry Doyle

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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