PARIS (AP) – With 29 straight days of walkouts, French rail strikes against government plans to reform France’s retirement system marked a new milestone Thursday, surpassing even the lengths of strikes in the 1980s.
The nationwide walkouts against the government’s pension plans started Dec. 5. On Thursday, they surpassed a 1986-1987 rail strike in longevity, a walkout that lasted 28 days at the SNCF national rail company.
The current strikes have crippled train and metro services in Paris and across the country over the Christmas-New Year period and continue to cause severe disruptions.
The SNCF said half of its vaunted high-speed trains weren’t running on Thursday. Only two automated lines were running normally in the Paris Metro, with services spotty or non-existent across the rest of the network.
Unions are gearing up for further walkouts next week, when French schools reopen and negotiations are set to resume with the government.
In a televised New Year address on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed his commitment to the pension overhaul but urged his government to “find the path of a quick compromise” with unions.