- Title: FRANCE: TRANSPORT SYSTEM UP AND RUNNING AS STRIKERS RETURN TO WORK
- Date: 18th December 1995
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (DECEMBER 18, 1995) (RTV - ACCESS ALL) 1. GV EXT. EUROSTAR, FRENCH RAIL TERMINAL,METRO 0.06 2. GV/VARIOUS INT. OF STATION, PASSENGERS (4 SHOTS) 0.22 3. SLV INFORMATION MONITOR 0.26 4. SLV PASSENGERS LOOK AT LARGE INFORMATION BOARD (2 SHOTS) 0.31 5. SLV TRAIN LEAVING STATION 0.37 6. GV/SV PEOPLE GOING THROUGH GATES IN UNDERGROUND TERMINALS/ TRAINS LEAVING STATION/ PASSENGERS (4 SHOTS) 1.00 7. SV WOMAN SAYING SHE GLAD A SOLUTION HAS BEEN REACHED AND THAT NEGOTIATIONS WILL START AGAIN (FRENCH) 1.16 8. SV MAN SAYING NOTHING HAS BEEN DECIDED, IM IN FAVOUR OF STRIKES - THEY'RE RIGHT TO (STRIKE) (FRENCH) 1.29 9. GV/SV BUS DRIVING IN STREET (2 SHOTS) 1.47 10. SLV EXT. POST OFFICE, PEOPLE ENTER AND LEAVE 1.54 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
- Embargoed: 2nd January 1996 12:00
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Reuters ID: LVAD5CVRK1HIKSTV6O6DROB5747H
- Story Text: France was limping back towards transport normality on Monday (December 18) as the national train network and Paris-area commuter systems began to restore service after more than three weeks of crippling public sector strikes.
But a key union leader warned the return to work was only a temporary labour truce and said the campaign against unpopular welfare reforms would be carried on.
New anti-reform demonstrations are planned for Tuesday (December 19), and union leaders say they will use Thursday's social summit with Prime Minister Alain Juppe to press their demands.
Nonetheless, Parisians were cheered to discover at least some service on 10 of 13 Metro underground lines and on most suburban lines in time for the morning rush hour.
The strikes, called over government plans to curtail welfare and retirement benefits, streamline the SNCF national railroad and raise taxes to bring down state deficits, had triggered a total shut-down of the Paris-region commuter networks.
That had led to nightmarish traffic backups and forced thousands to turn to roller skates, bicycles or their own two feet to go to work.
Rail workers resisting the growing return to work blocked Eurostar trains leaving Paris for London just before noon (1100 gmt) on Monday and high-speed trains serving northern France.
However, most other employees did appear to be returning to work.
There was no service so far between Paris and the Mediterranean port city of Marseilles, where train drivers remained on strike, local and union officials said. Commuter networks also remained closed down in Marseille.
The protest movement, which spread to most public services without catching on in the private sector, won striking workers some major concessions from the government, notably in protecting retirement benefits superior to those of private sector workers and in the withdrawal of the SNCF reform plan.
But Juppe managed to hold onto the core of his welfare system overhaul, with plans for new taxes and health cost controls being implemented by decree within the next few weeks, providing the government extra revenue to start paying off the social security fund's accumulated debts.
The goal of the reform is to help France qualify for a single European currency from 1999, a plan which was given the seal of approval by European leaders at the weekend in Madrid.
A chastened Juppe pledged in a live television interview on Sunday evening to step up dialogue with trade union leaders, revive flagging economic growth and refrain from additional tax increases.
"We must try and make something positive come out of all this," Juppe said.
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