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LATEST: How strikes will affect France this weekend

France is in the grip of ongoing strike actions against proposed pension reforms - from plane and train cancellations to fuel shortages and demos, here's what to expect this weekend.

LATEST: How strikes will affect France this weekend
Photo by Geoffroy Van der Hasselt / AFP

As protests against the French government’s planned pension reform continue, several sectors will be affected over the weekend of March 11th and 12th, and the weekend will also see more large demonstrations.

Tuesday marked the latest one-day strike which saw major disruption on services across France including trains and city public transport. Another one-day strike is planned for Wednesday, March 15th, but several unions have declared rolling strikes, which means that disruption continues.

Five minutes to understand French pension reform

Other workers are blockading fuel refineries, which is leading to fuel shortages at some filling stations. 

You can find all the latest info on upcoming strike action in our strike section HERE and our strike calendar HERE

Here’s what to expect this weekend;


Workers belonging to the militant CGT union have been blockading fuel refineries since Monday with the intention of stopping deliveries of petrol/gasoline and diesel getting to filling stations.

The impact of this is beginning to be felt at service stations, with some reporting shortages – although the effects are worse in some areas than others.

MAP Where in France are blockades causing fuel shortages?


Ongoing strike action by air traffic controllers has led the French civil aviation authority to cancel numerous flights over the past week.

The cancellations continue into the weekend with Paris-Orly, Marseille, Toulouse, Nantes and Bordeaux airports seeing 20 percent of flights cancelled on Saturday.

On Sunday, 20 percent of flights are cancelled at Paris-Orly, Marseille and Toulouse. Other airports should function as normal, although knock-on disruption and delays to other flights is possible – flights going over French airspace may also be rerouted.


Rail unions are backing the rolling strikes, so services will remain disrupted on the French and international rail network.

Rail operator SNCF said on Friday afternoon that rail travel on all of their services this weekend will remain “strongly disrupted”, and they recommend that people planning to travel cancel or postpone their trips.

Detailed information about how certain services will be affected will be available Friday evening on the SNCF website HERE, but the rail operator has said that it expects “similar levels of disruption” over the weekend to those seen on Friday, when only around one third of trains ran.

The disruption also affects international services like the Thalys and Lyria services to Belgium and Switzerland and the Eurostar.

In recent days, Eurostar has had most of its services between Paris and London operating normally, with some cancellations. 

On Saturday, the 8:13 AM and 8:13 PM trains from Paris to London will both be cancelled, and on Sunday the 9:13 PM train from Paris to London will also be cancelled. You can find detailed information HERE.


Paris public transport returned largely to normal on Friday, with only a couple of Metro lines and the RER A and B lines seeing fewer than normal services. City transport bosses with the RATP say they expect this to continue over the weekend. It’s worth noting that line 9 and line 14 will be closed on Sunday – although this is for pre-planned works, not because of strikes. 

Lines 6 and 11 will be slightly disrupted on Saturday afternoon due to strike action – with line 6 running three trains out of every four, and line 11 running two trains out of every three.

Traffic on the RER A and B lines will be impacted on Saturday – RER A will run half of its normal services, and RER B will run two trains out of three on average.

Buses and tram services will operate normally.


Saturday is another ‘day of action’ when unions are calling for people to take to the streets to show their opposition to the reform – demos are planned for towns and cities across France with unions hopping to top the 1.2 million turnout on Tuesday.

In Paris the marchers will meet at 2pm at Place de la République with the exact route of the demo still TBC. It is likely that there will be road closures in place around Place de la République.

Here are some of the other demos planned

  • Toulouse –  10.30am at St-Cyprien
  • Nice – 10am at Gare de Nice 
  • Caen – 2.30pm at Rives de l’Orne
  • Rennes – 2.30pm at Place de la Bretagne
  • La Rochelle – 2.30pm at the station
  • Montpellier – 2pm at Rives du Lez
  • Bordeaux – 1.30pm at Place la Bourse
  • Narbonne – 10am at Théâtre
  • Nevers – two demos, one at 2pm leaving from the Medef offices on boulevard du Pré-Plantin (supported by the unions Unsa, FO and CFDT) and the other at the aérodrome roundabout (supported by CGT, CFTC, FSU, CGC and Solidaires)
  • Sables-d’Olonne – 2.30pm in front of the entrance to Atlantes 
  • Fougères – 10.30am on Esplanade des Chaussonnières
  • Lannion – 11am at Quai d’Aiguillon 

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French left in last-ditch bid to derail pensions overhaul

France's left-wing forces and labour unions will stage another day of strikes on Tuesday to try to derail President Emmanuel Macron's pensions overhaul, insisting that the fight to thwart the changes is not over even after it became law.

French left in last-ditch bid to derail pensions overhaul

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets across France for what will be the fourteenth day of  demonstrations since January to oppose the reform.

Macron signed in April the bill to raise the pension age to 64 from 62 after the government used a controversial but legal mechanism to avoid a vote in parliament that it risked losing.

The later retirement age, which seeks to bolster France’s troubled long-term finances, was a banner pledge of Macron’s second and final term in office, and its smooth implementation is seen by supporters as crucial to his legacy.

Parts of the overhaul, including the key increase in the pension age, were printed on Sunday in France’s official journal, meaning they are now law.

READ MORE: Protests and flight cancellations: What to expect from Tuesday’s French pension strike

Opponents are pinning their hopes on a motion put forward by the small Liot faction in parliament — broadly backed by the left — to repeal the law and the increased retirement age.

Parliament speaker Yael Braun-Pivet, a member of Macron’s party but officially neutral, was to rule on Thursday whether parliament could vote on returning the retirement age to 62.

This was removed from the Liot motion at commission level, but left-wing parties have sought to put it back on the agenda via an amendment.

‘Increase in anger and violence’

In an op-ed for the Le Monde daily on Monday, the key figures from all of France’s left-wing parties urged Braun-Pivet to allow a vote on the motion, at the risk of further unrest.

“For our fellow citizens, a new denial of democracy will only lead to increased disaffection for our institutions, which is already manifesting itself in the form of growing abstentionism, and even an increase in anger and violence,” they said.

Authorities expect up to 600,000 people at the demonstrations nationwide on Tuesday, less than half the peak on March 7th, when 1.28 million were counted by police.

In contrast to the earlier phase of the movement, only limited disruption is expected on public transport though some flight cancellations are awaited, in particular at the Paris Orly airport.

READ MORE: Which French airports will be hit by cancellations during Tuesday’s strike?

“The defeat has not been enacted,” Greens MP Sandrine Rousseau told Radio J, warning that “we will raise our voices” if the parliament vote is not allowed.

The battle against the pensions reform “will never finish”, hard-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon told the 20 Minutes daily.

But Macron’s allies say it has long been game over for opponents of the reform, even if it remains widely unpopular with the public.

The opposition “knows very well that this motion has no future,” Prisca Thevenot, an MP for Macron’s Renaissance party, told LCI television on Sunday.

The government says the changes are essential for France’s financial health.

In April, Fitch, one of the leading credit ratings agencies, lowered its rating on France’s debt, which is approaching €3 trillion.

But France managed to avoid a new credit downgrade on Friday, when S&P Global maintained the agency’s “AA” rating.