We show you our most important and recent visitors news details Unmerry Christmas as French transport strike enters fourth week in the following article
Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - PARIS — Christmas Day brought no respite for travelers in France as a transport strike entered its fourth week, ruining the plans of thousands to share a traditional meal and quality time with loved ones.
Many scrambled at the last minute to make alternative arrangements as the protest against pension reform saw thousands of trains cancelled or delayed — and taxis, ride-sharing services and car rental agencies unable to make up the shortfall.
Only a fraction of high-speed and inter-city trains ran on Christmas Eve, even fewer on the holiday itself. The main train stations in Paris were closed for the morning with suburban connections slashed and merely two out of 16 metro lines — the only driverless ones — providing any service.
Negotiations between the government and unions last week failed to find common ground, and strikers vowed there would be no holiday truce unless officials scrap plans to merge the current 42 pension schemes into one.
Talks are scheduled to resume on Jan. 7.
The government says the overhaul is needed to create a fairer pension system.
But workers balk at the inclusion of a so-called pivot age of 64 until which people would have to work to earn a full pension — two years beyond the official retirement age.
Others, especially railway workers, are angry at plans to do away with special regimes that make early retirement provisions for categories of employees who work unusual hours or do physically demanding jobs.
Paris Opera workers, who can retire at 42, are among those on strike.
On Tuesday, roughly 40 dancers in white tutus staged an elegant protest in Paris, performing Swan Lake to passersby on the steps outside the opera house with banners warning: "Culture in danger".
"We wanted to offer a moment of grace," said dancer Alexandre Carniato.
Unions are hoping for a repeat of 1995 when the government backed down on pension reform after three weeks of metro and rail stoppages just before Christmas.
But the action is taking a heavy toll on businesses, especially retailers, hotels and restaurants, during what should be one of the busiest periods of the year.
Industry associations have reported turnover declines of 30 to 60 percent from a year earlier, and the SNCF said on Tuesday it had lost 400 million euros ($442 million) in potential earnings so far.
The strikers, too, are losing out, forfeiting their salary for days not worked — 21 days by Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the Info'Com-CGT union presented a check for 250,000 euros ($277,000) to striking workers of the RATP Paris rail service, from a fund containing public contributions.
"This is a turning point," train driver Raffi Kaya said at a union-organized Christmas lunch for strikers at Paris' Gare de Lyon train station.
"It is starting to hurt financially. But we have gone too far to stop now."
The man leading the government's pension reform project, Laurent Pietraszewski, said on Tuesday the government would be "willing to compromise" in the negotiations, set to last throughout January.
But he insisted there will be no revisiting the plan to do away with special retirement regimes.
A poll by the IFOP agency published Sunday showed public backing for the action dropping by three percentage points, though 51 percent of respondents still expressed support or sympathy for the strike, which is set to also cast a pall over New Years' celebrations and the first working weeks of 2020. — AFP
These were the details of the news Unmerry Christmas as French transport strike enters fourth week for this day. We hope that we have succeeded by giving you the full details and information. To follow all our news, you can subscribe to the alerts system or to one of our different systems to provide you with all that is new.
It is also worth noting that the original news has been published and is available at Saudi Gazette and the editorial team at AlKhaleej Today has confirmed it and it has been modified, and it may have been completely transferred or quoted from it and you can read and follow this news from its main source.