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Paris transport strike disrupts subway, trains to suburbs

Paris transport strike disrupts subway, trains to suburbs
Commuters in Paris are facing disruptions as public transport workers hold a one-day strike to protest what they say is an insufficient salary increase proposal by the state-owned transport company RATP amid rising inflation

Paris commuters faced disruptions as public transport workers went on strike Friday to protest what they say was an insufficient salary increase proposal by the state-owned transport company RATP amid rising inflation.

Most subway lines in the Paris area and train services linking the capital with the suburbs were shut down during rush hours. Driverless trains that were in service had been packed with people rushing to reach work and children’s schools on time.

“It was not complicated to get into Paris, but now to get around Paris, even the metro lines that run normally are blocked,” said Angelique Muneret, who commutes into the city for work.

O francês capital’s residents have long been accustomed to strikes paralyzing public transport. Ao longo dos anos, many changed their daily commutes to overcome frequent disruptions, hopping on a bike or an electric scooter to move faster along congested roads and highways.

Friday’s one-day strike was the largest in the capital since the COVID-19 pandemic started in early 2020. The strikersmain demand is a substantial salary increase given rising inflation and soaring energy prices.

O governo, which supports the RATP management’s offer, insists that transport workers will retain purchasing power with the proposed average of 2.7% levantar. Unions, Contudo, claim that the offer in reality amounts to no more than a 0,4 % increase.

Transport union leader Vincent Gautheron said that is not enough for workers “to fill refrigerators at the end of the month”. Their salaries have not improved since 2017, he told the French broadcaster BFM TV — the year of the country’s last presidential election. The next election is scheduled for April 10.

Inflação was at 2,9% in January due to soaring energy prices, according to government figures.

Transport Minister Jean-Baptist Djebbari urged unions to accept the proposal. He said the government has no plans to support a renegotiation of the offer, although talks with the unions are scheduled to resume later Friday.

Jerome Pigo, who lives on the city’s outskirts, said that even without the strike fewer people were using trains due to pandemic remote working. He said he had prepared in advance how to reach his own downtown workplace.

“It’s tricky, but I made arrangements,” Pigo said. “Once I reach Paris, it will require a lot of walking.”