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General Strike in France

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
A general strike is starting on the 5th December 2019 in France. It is over pension reforms. Principally centered around civil service pensions (where people can retire after as little as 27 years service) it may extend to the private sector. "No train will run" between the 5 to 9 December "including Eurostar", sources close to the SNCF have forecast. The reason? It is not just drivers going on strike but maintenance crews with electricity being cut.

The last strike of this scale was in 1995 which paralyzed the country for nearly a month with food and petrol running out. The new wave of strike action is seen as a referendum on who governs France with President Macron, an admirer of Putin and Trump, keen to face down militants.
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davidof wrote:
President Macron, an admirer of Putin and Trump.
Quite the opposite - I am not sure where you get this from. Trump clearly backed his main, extremist opponent (think 'BNP'), while Putin simply bankrolled her.
One may like Macron or not but everybody in France knows he has a strong dislike of both Trump and Putin.
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We're flying in to Geneva 15th December and getting transfers with AlpyBus to Val Thorens. Do you think the strikes are likely to affect us much as we're flying in to Switzerland and using a private transfer company rather than public transport?
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patrick! wrote:
davidof wrote:
President Macron, an admirer of Putin and Trump.
Quite the opposite - I am not sure where you get this from. Trump clearly backed his main, extremist opponent (think 'BNP'), while Putin simply bankrolled her.
One may like Macron or not but everybody in France knows he has a strong dislike of both Trump and Putin.


so naïve , it is really quite touching.
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davidof wrote:
The last strike of this scale was in 1995 which paralyzed the country for nearly a month with food and petrol running out


Where did you get that from?

I lived in the suburbs of Paris at the time.

Food and petrol did not run out during those strikes. Things were bad and some people lost their jobs (a lot of small business went under as a result) but there were no food or petrol shortages.
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The only activity in France I can remember causing a bit of trouble was the 68 student riots.
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GrosPierre wrote:
davidof wrote:
The last strike of this scale was in 1995 which paralyzed the country for nearly a month with food and petrol running out


Where did you get that from?

I lived in the suburbs of Paris at the time.

Food and petrol did not run out during those strikes. Things were bad and some people lost their jobs (a lot of small business went under as a result) but there were no food or petrol shortages.

you are confusing an anecdotal about your suburb with problems supplying shops and petrol stations during the 1995 industrial action, for example the port de Marseille was on strike causing supply problems there. In the wake of the 1995 pension striked, industrial action by truck drivers caused serious petrol shortages across France.



and again in 1997



The point of this thread is to warn snowheads about forthcoming, major industrial action in France during December which can have a major impact on travel.
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Quote:

The point of this thread is to

*have a dig at the French as usual.
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leggyblonde wrote:
Quote:

The point of this thread is to

*have a dig at the French as usual.
Nonsense. davidof practically is French, having lived there for donkey's years. He's just trying to be helpful.
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davidof wrote:
In the wake of the 1995 pension striked, industrial action by truck drivers caused serious petrol shortages across France.
Wasn't there industrial action more recently than that? I have vague memories of driving to the Alps and making sure I kept the car full of petrol any time I passed a service station which had fuel as there was no guarantee that petrol would be available everywhere.
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Food and petrol shortage during the 1995 strikes - yes, and next we are going to hear that there are parts of London where Caucasians can't go to.

Oh, wait.
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@Hurtle, perhaps living in France has warped his views. His posts are never positive about the French system; see the OP.
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Eurostar already have a list of cancelled trains.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I happen to live in France too - that should allow for informed views rather than warped views.
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Does "no trains" include Getlink/Eurotunnel? There might be some significant disruption in parts of the UK if that stops for a few days.
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@Swansea,
Quote:

We're flying in to Geneva 15th December and getting transfers with AlpyBus to Val Thorens. Do you think the strikes are likely to affect us much as we're flying in to Switzerland and using a private transfer company rather than public transport?


Alpybus, along with most private transfer companies marketing to Brits employ mainly British drivers, so no strike problems.
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French road haulage firms are also starting a 4 day blockade on the Belgium border, if anyone is travelling that way. The protest is over government diesel fuel subsidies.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
ecureuil wrote:
Does "no trains" include Getlink/Eurotunnel? There might be some significant disruption in parts of the UK if that stops for a few days.


Yes, there would be no signalling or power to the tracks. Period concerned is the 5-8th December but it depends if the action gets widespread support.

A rail driver's strike last year caused major disruption but failed to gain wider traction. This strike, because it concerns pensions, looks like having much wider support with other groups joining the action.
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patrick! wrote:
I happen to live in France too - that should allow for informed views rather than warped views.


To address some of your other points.

Macron's strategy for the 2022 Presidential election is predicated on a second round run-off with Le Pen because it is believed (almost certainly correctly) that Le Pen cannot win - she is flakey on the economy and there is a core vote that will always turn out against her for other reasons. The aim is to keep her as a serious rival and second round candidate but keep the Rassemblement National weak. Hence the half million euro fines for fraud this week. The FN and now RN have been used to bleed support to a certain extent from the mainstream right wing parties, or to lead them away from the center ground where elections have been won, and this looks to continue. Mitterand put pressure on TV companies to give more airtime to Jean-Marie Le Pen and the FN in the middle 1980s with this aim in mind.

Macron is Putin's biggest champion in the West. In May he campaigned for Russia's return to the Council of Europe. In August he said he was favourable for a return of Russia to the G7(+1) and invited Putin to holiday with him at Brégançon in the south of France. At the same time he pronounced Nato "brain dead" and wants to collaborate closely with Russia on security issues. The JDD newspaper called it a "love-in" with the Russian President. It is true that relations with Trump cooled somewhat after the USA unilaterally pulled out of Syria but Macron has always entertained friendly relations with the American president and there are no hangups about inviting Trump to France, he even came to the Bastille day celebrations. A relationship qualified as a "bromance" by the French press.
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This from Radio Riviera this morning.
"Strike - The Riviera is bracing for a national strike beginning next Thursday December 5th. The strike is expected to affect trains, schools, postal services and flights. It’s been reported this morning that the SNCF has already suspended sales of all tickets from the 5th to 8th December. It’s also thought ‘yellow vest’ protesters will join the action with demonstrations at motorway toll stations. Workers are protesting pension reform among other issues. President Macron has said the government will remain strong in the face of any unrest."
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I'll only comment on one obvious inexactitude: the relation with Trump soured way before last month's pull out of Syria (a surprise endorsement of a Turkish attack on Syrian Kurds). It soured months ago when Trump pulled out of the Paris agreement. Then it got worse when Trump pulled out of nuclear deal with Iran.

There are easy searches one can do to corroborate the above via the Beeb, the Independent, even the Guardian.
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davidof wrote:
ecureuil wrote:
Does "no trains" include Getlink/Eurotunnel? There might be some significant disruption in parts of the UK if that stops for a few days.


Yes, there would be no signalling or power to the tracks. Period concerned is the 5-8th December but it depends if the action gets widespread support.

A rail driver's strike last year caused major disruption but failed to gain wider traction. This strike, because it concerns pensions, looks like having much wider support with other groups joining the action.


I'm on a Eurostar to Brussels on the 6th. They are claiming that some trains will still run - including the one I am booked on.
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27 days days of strikes on South West Trains in the UK are about to start..
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Folks can we keep the politics out of this thread. snowHeads has a core of folks who try and inform fellow snowheads of travel difficulty. @davidof, is one of the leading lights in this and has spent many hours at his keyboard helping folks with only limited connection by answering questions during snowmaggedons etc. If you wish to squabble about politics go to the Apres section and start a thread - at your peril Very Happy
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@chocksaway, well said
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I'm booked on the Eurotunnel on the 6th. Hope it runs. Puzzled
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The OP's help is welcome, but indeed he political content of the first post took me by surprise and does not have its place in this forum. The dubious claims were already debunked but others who know more, but I also apologize for having taken the bait.
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davidof wrote:
A general strike is starting on the 5th December 2019 in France. It is over pension reforms. Principally centered around civil service pensions (where people can retire after as little as 27 years service) it may extend to the private sector. "No train will run" between the 5 to 9 December "including Eurostar", sources close to the SNCF have forecast. The reason? It is not just drivers going on strike but maintenance crews with electricity being cut.

The last strike of this scale was in 1995 which paralyzed the country for nearly a month with food and petrol running out. The new wave of strike action is seen as a referendum on who governs France with President Macron, an admirer of Putin and Trump, keen to face down militants.


OP should stick to skiing. Seriously. It's a lot safer than politics.

As has been so clearly and richly stated, second paragraph is patent nonsense. Macron is the only realist president we've had in decades. How else should he deal with Russia and the US? He's no admirer of dictators, for all his real or perceived faults.

There is no one on God's green earth who feels more entitled than a French railway worker. Hopefully Marcon won't knuckle under to the labor militants, whose only "stance" is to work as little as possible until they can retire and play petanque for the rest of their lives, coddled by the state they so despise. And I say this as a dual French national who happily pays France's high tax rate.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Pasigal,
Quote:

OP should stick to skiing. Seriously. It's a lot safer than politics.

Perhaps you should take your own advice, not to mention comply with the sensible request of chocksaway in that case. Twisted Evil
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ecureuil wrote:
Does "no trains" include Getlink/Eurotunnel? There might be some significant disruption in parts of the UK if that stops for a few days.


Eurotunnel operations area usually discreet from the general rail network at both ends as I understand. If no direct action relating to the strike in that business, then they can run. Would think they'd notify if that's not the case.

Through services to wider destinations are obviously a different matter if approach infrastructure is inoperative.
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Hurtle wrote:
@Pasigal,
Quote:

OP should stick to skiing. Seriously. It's a lot safer than politics.

Perhaps you should take your own advice, not to mention comply with the sensible request of chocksaway in that case. Twisted Evil


I never take my own advice, at least that's what my wife says.... Laughing
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Getlink/Eurotunnel for freight and cars is a bit like a large shunting yard with mainline trains (Eurostar) running through it. So hopefully the shunting yard won't be affected!
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Totally unpolitical question: is this likely to affect French air traffic control?
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Le Shuttle twitter account saying the strike shouldn't affect the service - this is as at yesterday. Will keep checking. We are booked on Saturday afternoon shuttle so fingers crossed.. Don't know about flights......
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Right - Politics Parked

Its started, there will be a reduction of 20% of flights into and over France as the air traffic controllers are partly on strike (Air France will be hit harder as there baggage handlers are joining in). BA have already cancelled a number of flights into France and Geneva tomorrow, Easyjet the same. Time to keep a very close eye on your App if you are travelling. Lots of cities will have very little public transport.

Eurostar and Thalys services will be affected as they use French tracks, those on the Eurotunnel don't, so currently unaffected, as are the ferries. They are not sure if this strike is going to extend into Saturday.
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I saw a pile of pallets at a Gilet Jaune favoured roundabout this AM between Geneva and Thonon Les Bains.
I fully expect them to be there tomorrow.
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Latest from The Local:

https://www.thelocal.fr/20191204/flights-trains-and-buses-your-questions-answered-in-frances-december-strikes
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My girlfriend is a teacher and is on strike tomorrow. Most of the schools in her area will be closed. Watching the news this evening train travel is already being hit. I'm driving back up to the Alps on Friday (I really ought to start skiing wink ) and expect a few Gilets Jaunes hold ups down here, on the A51 and around Gap.
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As I can get from Kent to the Alpes on a tankful of fuel (+ a few litres for comfort) I would be very pleased if the autoroute toll staff manage to time any action (or inaction Laughing ) to suit my upcoming trip. Laughing Any chance ? I can be a little flexible on my timing if necessary.
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hi all.
I was wondering if the strike will have affect on skiing next week (given one will get there with all that public transport and flights issues) ?
are the ski resorts run by personel whom might be on strike too ?
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