Workers in transport and other public sectors plan strikes amid fears of protests in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the May 1968 uprising.
Following a call by the principal French railworkers' unions for twice-weekly rolling strikes over three months from April, in protest at plans to open up part of the state-run network to private competition and changes to workers' employment conditions, transport minister Elisabeth Borne on Friday urged further negotiations, hinting at a possible delay of the liberalisation reforms.
Rail unions' strike, upping pressure on negotiations over future working conditions, comes as France faces severe disruption because of flooding.
The train strike, starting late Tuesday in protest at a reform of railways structure, coincides with that of taxi drivers against minicab services.
The high-speed train, or TGV, is one of France’s major engineering success stories of the past three decades, revolutionizing transport in a country with largest surface area in Western Europe. Two years ago, a vast, ambitious plan was announced to extend the high-speed train network with 14 new lines in a north-south, east-west grid inter-linking most major French cities and regions. But now France’s new socialist government, battling a huge public deficit, has decided to pull the plug on a project it describes as “a headline-grabbing announcement” that was one of “a multitude of projects conceived without the beginning of the least financing”.