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New year brings no end to French rail strikes

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on January 2, 2020 - Duration: 01:14s

New year brings no end to French rail strikes

Strikes by French transport workers against government reforms to the pensions system continued into the new year entering their 29th day on Thursday, beating a previous record for a strike over consecutive days at rail company the SNCF set in 1986.

Emer McCarthy reports.

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New year brings no end to French rail strikes

French rail passengers witnessed a new record on Thursday (January 2) as transport worker strikes entered their 29th day, making them the longest consecutive strikes of their kind in French history.

The last time workers at the national rail company SNCF went on strike for this long was over the Christmas period starting in 1986.

And that's meant commuters have started the new decade amid chaos at Paris' busiest train stations.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) 21-YEAR-OLD STUDENT, PIERRE HAUDIQET, RETURNING TO ANGERS IN WESTERN FRANCE FOR HIS STUDIES, SAYING: "I completely understand the strikers' demands, I just think it's a shame they are able to totally block an entire country like this.

There are lots of people who need the SNCF, who count on its services, I absolutely have to get back for my studies and so on and I struggled to find a train.

I think it's a shame they are able to block the whole country like this." Workers are protesting against government reforms to the French pensions system.

President Emmanuel Macron said in a new year's eve address that he expected the government to reach a compromise quickly with unions, but without departing from principles laid out by ministers.

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