What to expect: mass pension reform strikes on the Riviera

Mass demonstrations against the French government’s new pension reform proposals are happening across the country on Tuesday 31st January. Here’s what to expect on the Côte d’Azur. 

The list of strikers set to protest has filled out, with energy, health, transport and education all being represented in the nationwide walk-out. Needless to say, disruptions will be acute.  

The last strike on 19th January drew 20,000 protesters in Nice alone according to the CGT trade union, though the number set by the prefecture is a more modest 7,500.  

This next round will commence at 10am in front of the Théâtre de Verdure in Nice, and will move onto the Place Charles-de-Gaulle via Les Phocéens and Traverse Flandre Dunkerque, before finding an end point in Place Masséna. 

In Cannes, the strikers will also meet at 10am at the Pantiero esplanade and follow a route taking them past the mairie, the Quai Saint-Pierre and Boulevard Jean-Hibert before reaching Place Mistral, then turning back. 


For those not involved in the strikes, Tuesday will be for a tricky day, especially for commuters. 

“Due to a national strike, the network will be disrupted all day,” announced Lignes d’Azur, the urban transport network of the Nice Côte d’Azur metropolis.   

No trams or buses on lines 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 30, 32, 33, 35, 36, 37, 38, 57, 64, 70, 81, 99 or Cadam East will be running. The public transport service for people with reduced mobility, Mobil’Azur, will also be stopped and the Lignes d’Azur sales agencies and all Parcazur parking lots will be closed.  

“No service will be provided on the urban lines on Tuesday all day long,” followed up Envibus, the public transport network of the Sophia Antipolis Agglomeration Community. The same goes for Palm Bus, the network in Cannes, though they are yet to release specifics.   

Rail traffic is also due to be interrupted, with only half the trains running in the region. As for regional TER traffic, two trains out of 10 are to be expected to be in operation in all regions   

Even the Nice Côte d’Azur airport is expecting disruptions at both departures and arrivals, though nothing specific has been posted yet on the website. Still, passengers should check the status of their flights before going to the airport Tuesday.   


In the education sector, unions such as the Union of National Education Professionals (SNALC), are also calling for action on Tuesday. SUD Education is proposing that the strike continue beyond 31st January. Nationwide, the estimate for those walking out will hit 70% in nursey and elementary schools, and 65% in secondary establishments.  


France’s refineries have planned to block fuel shipments to depots, which the unions say will have a knock-on effect that won’t be felt until next week when shortages may again occur at the pumps.   


CHU Nice saw nearly 20% of its workers strike on 19th of January, and CGT says they have again filed a notice that they will be joining the marches on Tuesday, though exact numbers are not certain.  


This may seem a bit frivolous, but with the ski conditions the best they’ve been in ages, this news may make people think twice before planning a mid-week ski trip. The local Alpes-Maritimes ski unions, representing full-time employees, have said they will not be turning up for work on, though it’s hard to say how many seasonal workers will join in, meaning it is hard to determine the disruptions this will cause.  


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Photo by Monaco Life