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15.01.2020 Europe

Pensions strikes have gone on far too long, says French PM Philippe

By Paul Myers - RFI
Reuters/Thomas Samson
LISTEN JAN 15, 2020
Reuters/Thomas Samson

The French Prime Minister remains adamant that transport strikes, set to enter a 43rd day on Thursday, will not succeed in derailing the government's reform of the pension system. Edouard Philippe said the shutdown has lasted far too long, and that the French needed to go back to "normal life".

"The transport strike against pension reform will go nowhere. The government is determined," said Philippe, emerging from a meeting with key ministers and advisors on Wednesday to reiterate the stance adopted on the first day of strikes, 5 December.

"I will only be happy when all train and metro users are back to leading a normal life," he said. "The number of people strike is falling, which I'm obviously pleased about."

On 16 January, the 43rd day of action, fresh demonstrations are scheduled for Paris and across France.

Bosses at RATP, the capital's transport operator, said travellers would experience a slight improvement in services across the network despite the predicted disruption.

"None of the lines will be totally shut," said an RATP spokesman.

Executives at the national railway company SNCF said there would be an improvement in services on provincial trains on Thursday as well as on the network around Paris and TVG high-speed services.