Crippling French Rail Strike Ends

Service resumes after 9 days
By Rob Wagner,  Newser User
Posted Nov 23, 2007 3:11 PM CST
Civil servants, holding a banner reading "Earning power", demonstrate in Toulouse, southwestern France last Tuesday. Civil servants, ranging from teachers to postal workers, began a mass walkout across...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The 9-day French rail strike that left thousands of commuters stranded ended today with a whimper, reports the New York Times. All but 2% of the striking transit workers returned to work, and government and transit officials promised reimbursements for commuters inconvenienced by the unpopular action. "Commuters can take no more," Le Parisien newspaper said.

The result is a victory for Nicolas Sarkozy, who opposed keeping the eligibility age for retirement privileges at age of 50 or 55. Nearly 70% of  the French have no such benefits and don't sympathize with rail workers. Negotiations between management and the principal unions will extend into next month, with the threat of renewed job actions if talks don't move the situation forward.