General

France’s transport minister warns about ‘nightmare’ ahead of Jan.19 strike

French Transport Minister called on the nation Tuesday to avoid travel on Jan. 19 because of strikes due to reform proposals to the country's pension system.

"It will be a Thursday of nightmare," Clement Beaune told broadcaster France 2. "There will be serious disruptions on the transportation."

"I call those who can … to avoid or postpone their movement … to work from home when it's possible since it will be a very difficult Thursday in terms of public transportation," he said.

Beaune expressed hope that the mobilization will not last while acknowledging the risk of a possible extension of the strikes during the semester break in February.

National railway operator, SNCF, and Parisian regional transport operator, RATP, are set to soon reveal disruption forecasts for buses and trains.

The pension reform project, which includes an increase to the retirement age from 62 to 64 in 2030, immediately triggered outrage from workers and unions when the government announced preparations last year.

After Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne revealed details last week, the eight main labor unions issued a statement that encouraged a nationwide strike and demonstrations Jan. 19.

Besides, the main union for primary education, Snuipp-FSU predicted Tuesday that 70% of primary school teachers will strike Jan.19, according to broadcaster BFMTV.

"Seventy percent is not a surprise for us since the retirement subject is a major concern for the teachers," said Snuipp-FSU Secretary-General Guislaine David.

Starting in 2027, the change will also require at least 43 years of work to be eligible for full pensions, she said.

Borne said the minimum pension would also rise to 85% of the minimum wage, meaning around €1,200 ($1,288) per month.

The draft reform is set to be presented Jan. 23 to the Council of Ministers.

Source: Anadolu Agency