STRIKES - TRANSPORT

France gets ready for 'Black Thursday'

As unions prepare their biggest nationwide one-day strike to protest against the government's politics, the French population is getting ready for a "Black Thursday" during which most transportation will be severely disrupted.

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AFP - International and domestic air and rail travel will be severely disrupted in France on Thursday due to a nationwide strike to protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy's government, officials warned.

Airlines will have to cancel 30 percent of their flights departing and arriving at Paris's Orly airport and 10 percent of flights from the main Roissy hub, aviation officials said.

The SNCF state rail company said only 60 percent of TGV high-speed trains would run and warned of even greater disruption on regional trains. It predicted just 35-50 percent of its Lyria high-speed service to Switzerland.

But Eurostar trains to London and Thalys trains to Germany and the Netherlands will not be affected, it said.

Metro and overland train services will also be badly disrupted, the RATP transport authority said, but buses and trams were expected to run normally.

French workers, spooked by the global crisis and fearful for their jobs, are preparing their biggest one-day strike since Sarkozy took office in 2007.
  

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