by Jane Rosenstein
On Saturday, January 18, 2020, the majority of members of the subway conductors voting in UNSA the main union of the RATP voted for the temporary suspension of the strike which began on December 5, 2020, in France to allow the strikers to have time to think and to gain strength. They will continue their requests for their retirement wishes. They are considering how to resolve the problem of getting their wishes versus Macron’s proposal.
The strikers were demonstrating against Macron’s proposal for retirement which is presented as a points system based on all the years a person worked versus the system now based on the last 6 months and the 25 highest yearly earnings. This system could raise the retirement age.
On Monday 11 of the 16 subway are functioning normally;
Line 13 is open in the morning with 1 out of 3 trains running and then from 2 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. with 1 out of 4 trains running.
Lines 3, 4,5 and 12 are not running as usual.
Usually, line 13 is very crowded so it will be very difficult to use this line with limited service.
Service is not normal on line 4 nor on the RER B which goes to Charles De Gaulle Airport.
The strike is far from over said Cédric Robert, spokesperson for the CGT-Cheminots (rail workers). This announcement had a significant return for the strikes who on Friday will present their product for the retirement law in the Council of the Minister.
For weeks those of us in Paris, both residents and visitors, have been stressed by the absence of subway lines running. My girlfriend spent two hours traveling a route on the bus which usually takes her forty-five minutes. I spent three hours on crowed buses mostly standing and was glad to get on the buses for trips that usually take one hour. Some buses did not travel the whole route. Passengers getting on and off the bus and the traffic made the trips longer. It was neck to neck standing room on some buses.
People here in Paris are glad that most subway and bus lines have the usual service but do not know how long this will last before another shutdown if it comes.
Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets are out in full force on Saturdays.
People learned how to cope with the strike and now are glad to be able to take the subway even if it is crowded. For now, this is just a provisionally stoppage of the strike.
Jane Rosenstein is a U.S. citizen living in Paris, France. She is a professional translator/interpreter. She is the owner of The International Connection which does international marketing consultation including sales of wine, interpretation, and translation. She enjoys the cultural life that living in Paris offers and has talents in organizing events. She speaks English, French, and Spanish.
She has a B.S. degree in mathematics from University of Pittsburgh and an M.B.A. degree from Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.