French pension reform strikes: what to expect on 7th March

The battle over pension reforms in France continues to wage with a few minor skirmishes playing out ahead of the big confrontation set to take place on 7th March.

On Saturday 25th February, a spontaneous “surprise operation” cropped up on the A8 motorway in Nice, where a group of about 60 pedestrian protestors from the CGT union blocked the Nice Saint Isadore exit barrier and were distributing leaflets.

On Monday, a southern region ZOU bus strike occurred, stopping nearly every line from running, followed on Tuesday by one from SNCF, causing massive delays for commuters. ZOU has followed up on the Monday strike with another on Wednesday, when the company took to social media saying there will be “strong disturbances” along with a list of lines that will and won’t be operational.

As for 7th March, this will be the sixth nationwide action taking place and organisers expect it to be a big one.


SNCF has called on members to strike, but as of now, there is no word on how much impact it will cause. In past strikes, SNCF has run one in three trains and two out of five on regional TER lines.

The Air Traffic Controllers union (ATC) may be calling for action from members. Previous strikes have seen some flights cancelled from Nice Côte d’Azur so those with flights that day should keep in touch with their airlines for updates.


The unions for civil servants, healthcare workers, and schools are set to picket, with the possibility that private sector workers will join in. Emergency medical services should remain available.

Unions will be refining the plan for the 7th in the coming days, and a clearer picture of the scale will become known.

Additionally, there will likely be protests on 8th March to coincide with International Women’s Day. It is being argued that women, who are most often tasked with child-rearing duties, will be unfairly affected by the change, obliging them to postpone retirement age longer than their male counterparts.

The 9th of March will also see some action as university and secondary school students are planning a walk-out to show support.

 As the picture comes into sharper focus, updates will be available.

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Photo source: CGT Union