After the use of 49-3 in the National Assembly, the unions hope again to mobilize their key sectors and increase the pressure on the executive.
The next few hours will be watched like milk on the fire by the executive. After the outbreak of 49-3 in the National Assembly on the compromise found around the pension reform, unexpected rallies were held in several cities in France on Thursday evening. Some are also marked by episodes of violence. For its part, the intersyndicale, which met in the process, called for “local local gatherings” this weekend and a ninth day of strikes and demonstrations on Thursday 23 March. Proof that the exhortation was heard: 200 demonstrators temporarily blocked the Paris ring road on Friday morning, hampering traffic on the latter. So what can we expect in the next few days? Will the French still be penalized by the blockages? Which sectors will be mobilized? Le Figaro make the point.
Disruptions to be expected in transport?
For now, transport is less disrupted than last week. But the railway sector is still under the threat of blockages. The four representative unions of the SNCF have also called on Friday at “keep on strike” started on March 7 and “to act massively on March 23” to oppose pension reform. CGT-Cheminots, Unsa-Ferroviaire, SUD-Rail and CFDT-Cheminots also invite rail workers to “multiply unit actions and initiatives from this weekend in all territories”.
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On Friday, rail traffic was moderately disrupted with two out of three TGVs, and one out of two TERs. For this weekend, “Train traffic continues to improve for this weekend but will remain disrupted”. Three out of five TERs will run on average, more than four out of five TGVs will operate, and three out of five daytime Intercités will be operational. As for some Intercités at night, the SNCF anticipates a partial resumption of traffic. A normal to almost normal service is to be expected on the RER E, and lines J, K, L, N, U; three out of four trains will run on RER A and RER B; two out of three trains on Line H and one out of two trains on RER C, RER D will operate. As of Friday morning, demonstrators invaded the tracks of Toulon station, blocking traffic for an hour. A coup that could happen again and that the SNCF is struggling to prevent.
If the situation has improved in the subways in Île-de-France, Parisians should expect “a black day” Thursday March 23, according to FO-RATP, the leading union among drivers, which denounces “the denial of democracy and the arm of honor sent to the entire French population”. In the sky, traffic normalized on Friday, particularly at Paris-Orly airport, and promises to be without significant disruption over the weekend. But the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) asked airlines to cancel Monday 30% of their flights at Paris-Orly and 20% at Marseille-Provence. “Despite these preventive measures, disruptions and delays are nevertheless to be expected.warned the DGAC on Friday.
Two refineries threatened with shutdown
In Gonfreville-l’Orcher, in the Manche department, the striking employees of TotalEnergies “have raised their voices”according to Éric Sellini, CGT coordinator. “Major units will start shutting down from tomorrow (Saturday)” and “normally, the refinery will be shut down this weekend or Monday at the latest”he warned.
The threat of a shutdown of the refineries is brandished by the CGT to ultimately drain service stations. Stopping a refinery is complex, the management can oppose it. Near Marseille, the Petroineos refinery where work resumed on Thursday, is threatened with total shutdown “no later than Monday afternoon”according to Sébastien Varagnol, CGT delegate. “Fuel shipments are stopped this afternoon (Friday), and this weekend, we are preparing for the total shutdown of the installations, which will take place no later than Monday afternoon.he said.
Electricians and gas workers still on strike
Production cuts continued in electricity on Friday morning, without impacting customers but affecting the finances ofEDF. “The pickets have not been lifted, on the contrary they have been extended”according to the CGT, with production cuts that have fluctuated between 15,000 and 20,000 MW for a week. “At 8:00 a.m., the drop on all means of production was 8,170 MW”with no drop in nuclear power, according to management.
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Filtering at the entrance to the sites continues, according to Laurent Charletoux, CFDT central delegate at EDF: “We try not to bother the citizen (…) but the government should be inspired to know what could happen if it continues on the path in which it is at the moment”. On the gas side, the blocking of the four LNG terminals in France has entered its eleventh day, with no consequences for customers according to GRTgaz. The blockage also continues in the eleven gas storage sites of Storengy, on strike since March 7.
10,000 tons of waste in Paris
On the thirteenth day of the strike, the garbage crisis worsens in Paris. The symbolic threshold of 10,000 tons of waste scattered on the sidewalks was crossed Friday noon, according to the town hall of Paris. Beyond the inconvenience, the risks of insalubrity and insecurity could lead to dangerous situations in the capital.
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“The concentration of rubbish, especially food, poses risks to the population, poses a public hygiene problem and promotes the proliferation of rats, vectors of disease“, underlined the Paris police headquarters, before adding that”this heap increases the risk of fire“. Faced with the scale of the situation, the first requisitions of personnel took place on Friday, after a standoff of several days between the government and the mayor of Paris.