Planes and trains cancelled ahead of 6th June pension strikes 

Another round of strikes and protests is threatening to impact air and rail travel across France, including on the French Riviera. 

On Tuesday 6th June, protestors will be taking to the streets for the 14th day of inter-union strikes against France’s controversial pension reform bill.  

Locally, there will be two main public demonstrations taking place, with strikers due to meet at 10am at the Théâtre de Verdure in Nice and at the same time at the Pôle Multimodal in Antibes. 

Fuelled by parliament

The 6th June protests come just two days before a bill to annul recent pension reforms, put out by the centrist Liberties, Independents, Overseas and Territories (LIOT) group, a catch-all name for a faction within France’s National Assembly, was supposed to be examined.  

However, a vote in the Assembly’s Social Affairs Committee ahead of the debates saw the item withdrawn from the agenda, causing a new swell of anger amongst the unions.  

“I can tell you that the withdrawal of the article has aroused a certain number of activists,” said Franck Hausner, the Secretary-General of Union Départementale Force Ouvrière 06, a local union. “There is a real dissatisfaction [amongst] workers and the population vis-à-vis the government’s attitude with a refusal of dialogue. This phenomenon of taking people for what they are not – let’s remain polite – pushes them to participate in the demonstration.” 

Local travel impacts 

Some train services will be cancelled, but in an announcement from SNCF, they will not be as severe as previously seen.  

“Train traffic will be slightly disrupted on the SNCF network this Tuesday 6th June due to a national interprofessional social movement. We invite you to check the train circulation on your usual information channels the day before, from 5.00pm,” reads the statement.  

Nationally, the railway company estimates that nine trains out of 10 will be operating as usual.  

Air travel disrupted 

The air traffic controllers strike may be more troublesome, though. The General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC) has asked that “airlines reduce their flight schedule” ahead of staff walk-outs. 

At Paris-Orly, 33% of flights have already been cancelled, according to the DGAC, which anticipates further cancellations at Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes Airports as well.  

It is not fully known yet what flights will be affected locally, but Nice Airport has put out a statement asking passengers to be proactive and check their flight status before coming to the airport.

“Due to a national strike, risks of flight disruptions and cancellations are to be expected on Tuesday 6th June. For more information, we advise passengers to contact their airline directly or contact our telephone advisers on 08 20 42 33 33.”  

Suggestions that one in five flights in and out of Nice will be scrapped have, however, been published by local French press outlets. 

Some 250 total actions are planned in France, which could bring together numbers in the region of 400,000 to 600,000 people, including 40,000 to 70,000 in the capital, according to authorities. This is far from the record of 7th March, when 1.28 million participants marched according to the police, but still shows the unions are far from down and out in their fight against the reforms.  


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Photo source: Pixabay