Friday, September 24, 2010

French Union Strikes Hit Transport

Empty train tracks at a Paris station as the city wakes up to the second round of strikes this month.

This is the latest move by unions protesting government efforts to raise the minimum retirement age.

Nearly one half of high-speed speed trains and city metro services were expected to be cancelled on Thursday.

Nevertheless, some commuters did show solidarity with the striking workers.

"I think this is the last hurdle before the law gets passed. So it's important that everybody mobilizes."

"I think that there are things that are inevitable and have to be reformed. But I think they could have consulted more and agree on fundamental things ahead of time."

Elsewhere at local airports, some 50 percent of short haul flights were also expected to be cancelled.

Union leaders hope more than two million people will turn out for the roughly 230 demonstrations planned around the country.

Under the government plan, the minimum retirement age will be raised to 62 by 2018.

President Nicolas Sarkozy says the mandate is crucial to maintain the current pension system.

As much of the public transport comes to a stand still, some Parisians have found other ways to go about their day.

One popular option are these use-and-leave bicycles, positioned around the city.

Others decided to strap on skates and hit the road one leg at a time.

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