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Traffic snarls up in Paris as transport strike goes into second day

Traffic snarled up around Paris on Friday as commuters returned to work despite transport cancellations on the second day of a strike against President Emmanuel Macron's pension reform plans.

Paris, 6 December 2019 (dpa/MIA) – Traffic snarled up around Paris on Friday as commuters returned to work despite transport cancellations on the second day of a strike against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform plans.

A government monitoring service reported over 375 kilometres of traffic jams on main roads in the Paris region, well above average.

Only one in ten long distance trains were running, according to state railway company SNCF, and on the Paris metro only two driverless lines were providing a full service.

But the working trains, like the roads, were busier than on Thursday, when many Parisians worked from home or took the day off.

Outside the Gare de Lyon in Paris, Bertim Zebly, 44, told dpa that his return to work had “not gone well at all.”

After managing to catch a train from the town of Fontainebleau, he was faced with a 40-minute wait for a train and then bus to his job as a fire safety officer in the suburbs.

Health Minister Agnes Buzyn told Europe1 radio the government had heard “the anger of the French people” and would hold final consultations with trade unions and business groups on Monday.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe would then announce the “final outline” of the pension reforms late next week.

But the head of the Force Ouvriere trade union, Yves Veyrier, predicted on BFMTV television that the strike would continue at least until Monday.

There was no question of “somehow joining hands with the government while we wait to see what they give us,” he added.

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