France: Unions set to continue nationwide strikes and demonstrations; major strike planned March 15 /update 5

France: Unions set to continue nationwide strikes and demonstrations; major strike planned March 15 /update 5

13 Mar 2023 | 06:25 AM UTC

Unions continue campaign of nationwide strikes, and demonstrations across France; a further general strike is planned March 15.






A coalition of major labor unions, opposition political parties, and activist groups in mainland France plan to hold a further day of nationwide strikes and protests on March 15. The industrial action is part of an ongoing campaign denouncing the government’s proposed pension reforms that would raise the retirement age. Nationwide disruptions from sector-specific strikes are ongoing March 13-14, including to national and regional train services.

The European Organisation for Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) has stated that residual disruption from the air traffic controllers (ATC) strike that ended March 12 will continue through at least March 13. The extent of potential disruptions March 15 is not known; however, on previous strike days, around one-third of flights have been canceled at Paris Orly Airport (ORY), and 20 percent of flights canceled at regional airports, including Marseille Provence Airport (MRS), Toulouse–Blagnac Airport (TLS), Nantes Atlantique Airport (NTE), and Bordeaux–Merignac Airport (BOD).

Disruptions are ongoing March 13-14 on French National Railway Company (SNCF) and Parisien Public Transport Operator (RATP) services following the latest round of strikes launched on March 12. Around 20 percent of RER local rail services in the Paris region are currently affected. The nationwide actions planned for March 15 will likely increase schedule disruption. Eurostar has canceled a number of services March 13-14. Additionally, local public transport strikes will almost certainly prompt disruptions to metro, bus, tram, and local rail services.

Public Sector

Unions representing public sector workers are likely to call on members to take part in the March 15 action. Healthcare unions could participate in the strike action prompting disruption to healthcare services, though emergency medical treatment will likely remain available. Staff at private companies may also participate in the strikes, resulting in business disruptions and closures.


Activists plan to stage related demonstrations in towns and city centers nationwide on March 15. The largest will likely be in Paris. Further demonstrations are planned in towns and cities nationwide; likely locations are central squares and major thoroughfares. Attendance will vary by location but will be in the thousands at larger gatherings.

Additional police will deploy to monitor and facilitate all demonstrations. Large crowds and associated security measures, including possible road closures and movement restrictions, will prompt localized business and transport disruptions. Most actions are likely to pass off peacefully, though isolated clashes between activists and police cannot be ruled out.


Confirm all transport reservations as well as public- and private-sector appointments through March 15, including at public health centers and other government facilities. Do not check out of accommodations until onward travel is confirmed. Avoid all demonstrations as a routine security precaution and to mitigate personal exposure to any associated disruptions. Allow extra time for travel in major cities. Heed instructions from local authorities and leave the area at the first sign of a confrontation.





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