Public service

France prepares for September strikes by transport and civil servants

PARIS

Transport and utility workers are expected to demonstrate across France throughout September for better wages and working conditions, according to local media.

The first of several expected strikes will take place in different cities from Thursday to Saturday, coinciding with the reopening of schools and major clearance sales over the weekend.

The authorities of Clermont-Ferrand, Lille, Tours, Pau, Caen, Le Mans and Toulon have announced that transport services will be disrupted in the coming days.

Romain Cusco, a representative of the CGT union, told France 3 that workers in the transport sector are “overworked”.

He said the workers had been demanding pay rises for almost six months, but management had failed to give an adequate response, leaving them no choice but to strike.

In Lille, three unions – CGT, CFDT and CFTC – have called for a strike this weekend, which could be particularly disruptive as the city prepares for the return of its major flea market after a two-year hiatus due to of the pandemic.

The CGT is also pushing for utility workers – employees of various municipal and regional authorities, housing and municipal services and utility companies – to stage strikes throughout September.

The protests aim to bring about “an end to job cuts and public service closures, the reopening of local public and social services… the recruitment and opening of the necessary positions and an increase of at least 10% in the number of civil servants,” according to the CGT.

Among other things, the CGT is demanding a minimum wage of €2,000 ($1,997) and wants the government to suspend plans by President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to raise the retirement age from 60 to 64 years old.

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