PARIS (AP) — Parisians were trying to get to work on Monday despite extraordinary traffic jams, as the strike to defend pensions paralyzed trains and subways for the fifth day in a row. Claiming safety reasons, the sNCF national rail network warned users to stay home or use «alternative means of transport» to go to work on Monday, rather than crowding the platforms in the hope of getting on one of the few trains Available.
As a result, the national highway authority reported more than 600 kilometers (360 miles) of traffic jams in the morning rush hour in the Paris region, compared to 150 kilometers (90 miles) on a normal day. Road traffic was worse on Monday than when the strike started last week, because many workers were able to work from home or took a day off in the early days of protests. But those resources became more complicated as the strike lengthened. Unions, bolstered by major demonstrations nationwide in years when the strike began last Thursday, planned new protests on Tuesday and hoped to keep up the pressure for the government to withdraw pension reform. Only about one-sixth of the Gaul trains were running on Monday and only two of the 16 Paris metro lines were operating normally. International routes were also affected and trade union pickets blocked bus garages throughout the capital, also limiting bus services. French President Emmanuel Macron summoned prime minister Edouard Philippe and other senior officials Sunday night to chart the week’s strategy. The prime minister was expected to present details of the government’s plan on Wednesday. It was not expected to vary the official retirement age, which is now 62, but it did encourage people to work longer. The reform is a centerpiece of Macron’s vision to transform the French economy. Government ministers insist that the current system is unfair and economically unsustainable, while trade unions say the reform violates the fundamental rights of workers and will force people to work longer for less money.