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November strikes in France: what to expect

Text by Lorena GALLIOT

Latest update : 2008-11-20

France’s unions are planning a week of massive strikes to protest against a string of reforms to France's sprawling public sector backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy. Here is a list of the disturbances expected to hit air, rail and road travellers.

Also read : Week of strikes set to disturb public services

By Air

French airport traffic returned to normal after a four-day airline pilot strike that ended on Monday November 17th at midnight.


Air France pilots were protesting the extention of their profession's legal retirement age from 60 to 65. Although company bosses are to push ahead with the reform, no future strikes have been announced.


In case of strikes, to check if your flight is maintained or cancelled, see section “Book online/ Flight status”. Cancelled flights are usually reported the day before their scheduled date at 8pm, but there are risks of surprise cancellations at the last minute.

A special Air France information number is available for additional information:


From France: 0800 240 260

From overseas: +33 157 02 10 55
By Rail


French railway (SNCF) union leaders have announced that one of the two strikes planned this week has been postponed, and could be cancelled altogether if negotiations currently underway give workers satisfactory guarantees. Seven out of eight railway unions are mobilised against plans to increase the maximum number of consecutive driving hours and night shifts.


Strike No. 1: Postponed. Initially planned on Tuesday Nov. 18 at 8pm for a duration of 48 hours.

Strike No. 2 : Begins Sunday, Nov. 23 at 8pm, duration not specified


The percentage of cancelled or delayed trains has not been specified yet. For more information, or to confirm if a specific train has been cancelled or maintained, consult the SNCF traffic information site InfoLignes. For trains in the Paris region, see

By Road

No disturbances are expected along France’s highway network. However, dense traffic jams are foreseen in Paris and most major cities as tens of thousands of protesting civil servants are expected to march on Thursday 20th (state school teachers' strike) and Saturday 22nd (post office workers' strike).


If your inter-city train has been cancelled, check out some of these car-sharing sites to catch a ride with drivers heading the same way as you :


School children are taking a day off on Thursday as teachers throughout France  demonstrate against planned job cuts. Nearly all teacher's unions have joined the protests, which should see massive turn-out.

A recent law makes it compulsory for schools to at least take in and look after pupils whose parents cannot find alternative day-care solutions, but not all towns have implemented the practice. Most left-wing mayors openly reuse to apply the law. Check with your child’s school before turning to one of several existing baby-sitting sites :,

Other strikes

Postal workers, unemployment bureau (ANPE) officers, telecom workers and public channel television journalists will also be on strike on Saturday, and should take part in protests against a wide array of President Sarkozy's reforms in Paris and other major cities.

Date created : 2008-11-20