UK travellers visiting France in the coming weeks could see their trip interrupted by continuing strikes against pension reforms.

The UK Foreign Office issued an update to its advice on travel to France after President Macron’s Government pushed through a pensions bill without a vote. Regular strikes have been organised by several French unions since January in a protest against the plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

Demonstrations began in Paris and elsewhere in France after the bill was pushed through.

What is the Foreign Office update?

The large-scale demonstrations in Paris and elsewhere in France began on 16 March and police presence increased, according to the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

“Protests could turn violent and/or continue. These could lead to disruptions to road travel,” reads the FCDO update.

It adds that a number of unions have called for rolling cross-sector strike action from 7 March, with co-ordinated cross-sector walk outs planned on 23 March.

The industrial action could start the evening before a strike day and could run for several days, while local or sector-specific strikes could take place on other dates.

Strikes can lead to disruption to services.

Which strikes could affect travel?

The last set of rolling strikes, which began on 7 March, led to Eurostar, flight and ferry cancellations and further disruption. It involved rail, air traffic control and port and dock workers.

Domestic rail travel was also disrupted on all lines operated by SNCF Voyageurs as unions of the SNCF, France’s national state-owned rail company, took part in the strike.

A press release issued by several French unions stated there was a plan to continue the calls for local rallies at the weekend and for a more major day of strikes on 23 March.

If the action is as widespread as on 7 March it is likely to cause significant disruption to trains, flights and ferries.

Meanwhile, Britons planning city breaks to Paris may be deterred by the 10,000 tonnes of waste that has collected on its streets, as a result of bin collectors striking.

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 17: Garbage cans overflowing with trash on the streets as collectors continue their strike in Paris, France on March 17, 2023. Garbage collectors have joined the massive strikes throughout France against pension reform plans. (Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Rubbish has collected on the streets of Paris due to bin collectors’ strikes (Photo: Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty)

Could strikes continue into summer?

Demonstrations took place in Paris and elsewhere following the French Government’s decision to push through the pension bill.

Opposition parties have called for a vote of no-confidence in the Government. If this plan doesn’t succeed, then the pension bill would be considered passed.

Unions could continue to call for further action in protest against the changes.

By admin