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Transport strikes bring Christmas chaos to Paris

Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on December 21, 2019 - Duration: 01:10s

Transport strikes bring Christmas chaos to Paris

Christmas travelers had an anxious wait at Paris's Saint Lazare train station on Saturday, amid a transport strike that has disrupted services.

David Doyle reports.

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Transport strikes bring Christmas chaos to Paris

The rush to join family at Christmas can be stress-inducing at the best of times but in Paris's Saint Lazare train station its at another level.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NORWAY RESIDENT VISITING FAMILY IN NORMANDY FOR HOLIDAYS, SYLVAIN DE PIERREPONT, SAYING: "We don't know if the train will be running or not." France has been paralyzed by a massive transport strike for two weeks amid a deadlock between unions and the government over pension reform.

On the last weekend before Christmas, St Lazare station sees a surge of people as Parisians leave the capital to be with their families.

But with the national rail operator running reduced services, including half the usual number of its high-speed trains, commuters were left staring hopefully at departure boards.

According to one traveler, Aurelie Lecerf, the atmosphere at the station is tense.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) VILLEMOMBLE RESIDENT, AURELIE LECERF, SAYING: "People bump into you and they become aggressive and they're all stressed." President Emmanuel Macron aims to streamline the generous state pension system and prod people to work until the age of 64, past the legal retirement age of 62.

But talks have failed with French unions and on Thursday (December 19) they said the strikes would continue over the Christmas holidays.

Negotiations are due to resume in January.

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