A commuter waits on a platform at Saint-Lazare RER station in Paris on November 10, 2022, during a strike | Photo: AFP
PARIS: Striking subway workers shut down half of the Paris Metro lines Thursday, a nationwide day of walkouts and protests by French train drivers, teachers and other public-sector workers demanding the government and employers increase salaries to keep up with inflation.
Expecting major disruptions on their morning commutes, many Parisians biked or walked to work. Others took buses that were provided as an alternative way to reach offices and workplaces, or reverted to their pandemic lockdown routines and worked from home.
Protest rallies were planned in Paris and other French cities later Thursday, amid deepening worker discontent around Europe.
The strikes in France build on multiple union actions in recent months by French workers demanding higher wages to keep up with the rising cost of living. Last month, a strike by oil refinery workers caused nationwide fuel shortages that disrupted lives and businesses. The French government intervened to force them back to work.
Europe has faced a series of protests and strikes in recent months over soaring inflation. Nurses, pilots, postal workers. railway staff and others have walked off the job, seeking wages that keep pace with inflation as Russia’s war in Ukraine has driven up energy and food prices.
Labor unions also have organized street protests to pressure governments to do more to ease rising bills even as European leaders have passed energy relief packages.
Nationwide general strikes over cost of living increases caused by inflation and higher energy costs linked to Russia's war in Ukraine snarled traffic through much of Belgium and shut down public services in Greece on Wednesday.