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Daily commute for millions thrown out of whack due to major strike at Paris metro

People walk outside a metro station operated by the Paris transport network RATP on the eve of a major strike by the public transport workers, in Paris, France, February 17, 2022. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

On Friday, a huge strike shut down the majority of Paris’ metro system and city train grid, interrupting millions of people’s daily commutes. Workers are demanding salary raises.

The news: The RATP public transportation provider in Paris reported that eight subway lines were closed, with the remaining six working just partially, and that two RER north-to-south and east-to-west lines were also severely impacted.

  • The strikes had no effect on only two lines, the 1 and 14, which are both self-driving and do not have a human conductor on board, according to RATP’s website.
  • “We call on businesses to make maximum use of home office working,” Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djeebbari said on Twitter.
People are seen inside a metro train operated by the Paris transport network RATP on the eve of a major strike by the public transport workers, in Paris, France, February 17, 2022. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

What’s going on: Workers at RATP have claimed that the walkouts were caused by the state-owned company’s low pay increases, which came as unions and management prepare for annual wage negotiations.

  • RATP had previously stated that it would be willing to increase pay by 2.7 per cent in 2022, a move that unions have labelled a “provocation” this month.
  • Paris’s public transportation system, which is one of the busiest in the world, has been thrown into turmoil multiple times in recent years.
  • Parisians will remember the month-long walkouts in the fall of 2019 when public transportation and railway workers protested President Emmanuel Macron’s plans for pension reform.
  • Later, Macron cancelled the legislation, citing the altered situation as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
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