French Rail Workers Strike

Utility workers, teachers, civil servants plan strikes too; Sarkozy vows to fight
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2007 8:02 PM CST
Commuters crowd in a coach of the Paris subway during a public transport strike in this Oct.18, 2007 file photo. France's train traffic was expected to come to a near-halt Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2007, in the...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – French rail workers tested Sarkozy's mettle today by walking off the job in defense of their pensions, the BBC reports. Only 90 of France's 700 high-speed trains will run tomorrow and subway service in Paris will be dead, according to the metro operator. "Tomorrow is going to be a hellish day for travelers and perhaps for many days beyond that," said one official.

At issue are pensions that Sarkozy says allow workers to retire by age 50—something he is determined to stop. "I will carry out these reforms right to the end. Nothing will put me off my goal," he vowed. But utility workers plan to strike too, and civil servants and teachers may follow by next week. Sarkozy is wary of sparking protests like France saw in 1995, the last time pension reforms were attempted.