Major strike at Paris metro disrupts daily commute for millions

The French capital's RATP public transport company said eight subway lines were closed. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (REUTERS) - A major strike paralysed most of Paris's metro network and city train grid on Friday (Feb 18), disrupting the daily commutes of millions of people, as workers demand pay hikes.

The French capital's RATP public transport company said six subway lines were closed, down from eight reported earlier on Friday, with the remaining lines operating only partially.

The city’s main RER north-to-south and east-to-west lines were also heavily hit.

Just two lines, the 1 and 14, which are both self-driving, without a human conductor aboard, were unaffected by the strikes, RATP said on its website.

"We call on businesses to make maximum use of home office working," Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djeebbari said on Twitter.

RATP workers have said the walkouts, which come as unions and management head into annual wage talks, were a result of insufficient pay increases offered by the state-owned company.

RATP had said it was prepared to hike wages by 2.7 per cent this year, a move unions described this month as a "provocation".

French national annual inflation was last reported at 3.3 per cent in January.

In recent years, Paris' public transport system, one of the world's busiest, has been thrown into chaos several times.

Parisians remember above all the month-long walkouts in the fall of 2019 when public transport and railway workers protested against plans for pension reform by President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron later called off the reform, citing the changed situation because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.