France strikes against pension reform cripple work, travel

A girl at a 2006 French labor strike makes a cell phone call.

Many workers and travelers have been affected by the ongoing France strikes. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Gilles Klein/Flickr)

France’s pension strikes are significant news on the world stage of late. According to sources, the French senate is preparing to vote on Wednesday on a bill that would raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. A massive protest strike has ensued, which has disrupted industry and transportation, crippling production and making it extremely difficult for travelers to get to France. Transportation of basic resources such as water and oil are among those hampered by the strikes.

France strikes, oil refineries shut down and travel suffers

All 12 oil refineries in France have faced strikes, causing a great oil shortage, reports the Examiner. Commercial truck drivers are not delivering gasoline, which has caused major runs on petrol at French gas stations. Gasoline sales are reportedly up 50 percent, and many stations have sold out.

Beyond the consumer effect, the France strikes and oil shortage have impacted air travel severely. Air France is experiencing delays or cancellations for domestic and European flights. The Examiner reports that 30 percent of flights out of Charles de Gaulle and Beauvais airports have been canceled, and half of Paris Orly flights have been shut down. EasyJet warns customers that flight schedules will remain unpredictable and advises that they check in frequently for updated info. British Airways has offered a similar explanation, and has emphasized various re-booking options. Ryanair has done the same, and has also placed easy-to-understand refund information online here, here and here. BMIBaby, Flybe, Air France and American Airlines all have online resources available to provide customers with additional information about their flights that have been affected by the France strikes.

Those tourists who have booked on a different airline can access other carrier websites through the Skyscanner service.

Rail travel impacted by France strikes

Airlines aren’t the only ones with problems in France. Strikes have also affected rail travel with European carriers Eurostar, Thalys and Lyria. Artesia and Talgo have suspended service altogether during the France strikes, indicates the Examiner. Rail travel with French carriers TVG, CORAIL, TÉOZ and TER is operating at 20 to 40 percent of capacity. Additional information on French national railway travel is available at


French pension protesters are creating havoc

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