A nationwide strike shut down public transport, schools and other services across France as unions kicked off an open-ended strike against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans for a “universal” pension system they say will force millions of people to work longer.
Parents scrambled to organize daycare as teachers walked off the job or were unable to get to work, and many employees were working from home or forced to take the day off as trains, metros and buses were cancelled.
Union leaders have vowed to keep up their protest unless macron drops the pension overhaul, the latest move in the centrist president’s push to reform wide swathes of the French economy.
Around 90 percent of high-speed TGV trains as well as regional lines were cancelled, and air France has axed 30 percent of domestic flights and 15 percent of short-haul international routes.
In Paris, 11 of the 16 metro lines were shut down and others had just bare-bones service during the morning rush hour, and the Eiffel Tower turned away tourists because of the strike.