Will the street make the government back down? Schools closed, trains, buses or metros that do not pass, a loss of power on the electricity network and shipments blocked in refineries: many sectors stopped work on Tuesday, January 31 to demonstrate their rejection of the reform of the retreats. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators are expected in the streets of the whole of France for a second national day of mobilization. The number one of the CFDT, Laurent Berger said that there were “more people” than during the last day of mobilization against the pension reform of January 19, shortly before the departure of the Parisian procession. It had gathered 1.12 million demonstrators according to the authorities, more than two million according to the CGT.
A strong mobilization in the streets
“If the Prime Minister [Elisabeth Borne] did not hear the message, today we are going to tell him louder, louder and more numerous”, hammered the secretary general of the CGT, Philippe Martinez. In the streets of several cities, nearly 250 demonstrations against pension reform are planned for Tuesday in France.In Toulouse, the procession has 80,000 participants according to the unions (40,000 participants, according to the police).In the Bouches-du-Rhône, in Marseille, the CGT lists 205,0000 people mobilized against 145,000 during the first mobilization.Present on the spot, the leader of La France insoumise (LFI), Jean-Luc Melenchonsaid: “Today is a very special day. It is not often that we see such a mass mobilization at the call of the unions. There will be a before and an after. Today, we we are entering a new phase.”
In Réunion, the second day of mobilization brought together, according to the intersyndicale, between “9,000 and 10,000 people” in the two processions organized in Saint-Denis and Saint-Pierre, which dispersed shortly after 1 p.m. ( 10 hours in Paris). The police are expecting 1.2 million demonstrators at the high end, including 100,000 in Paris. A total of 11,000 police and gendarmes will be mobilized as part of the demonstration against the pension reform, announced the Minister of the Interior.
A movement followed in Education
In nursery and primary schools, one in two teachers is on strike, according to the Snuipp-FSU, less than the 70% of strikers announced on January 19. In college and high school, the Snes-FSU evokes “55% of strikers”. Overall, the Ministry of Education for its part counts 25.92% of striking teachers, against 38.5% on January 19, including 42.35% in primary (nursery and elementary schools) and 34, 66% in secondary (college and high school).
In Paris, a hundred schools are closed. On January 19, during the first day of mobilization, the rate of striking teachers was 42.35% in primary education and 34.66% in secondary education, according to the ministry. FIDL, a high school student union, announces that “more than 200 high schools “are currently blocked”. Students are also mobilized, as at the Saint-Charles site of Aix-Marseille University. In Paris, Sciences Po was occupied overnight by around fifty students.
Disruptions in transport
In the airports, it is mainly the strike of air traffic controllers which causes disruptions and delays. The cancellation of one in five flights was requested from Paris-Orly by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to match the available staff and the expected traffic. The social movement is reflected Tuesday morning by significant delays, sometimes exceeding 45 minutes, for flights passing in particular through the air control zones of Brest, Bordeaux and Marseille, according to Eurocontrol, a pan-European traffic monitoring body. In Lyon-Saint-Exupéry, flights are almost half an hour late on arrival, according to the specialized site FlightAware. In Nice, 18 rotations are canceled out of around 90 usually planned.
In the trains, the traffic is in line with SNCF forecasts, namely “very strongly disturbed”, with around 2 TER out of 10 in the regions, only 25 to 30% of TGV according to the axes, almost no Intercités trains, nor any night Train. The strike rate reached 36.5% at the SNCF on Tuesday, against 46.3% during the first on January 19, AFP learned from a union source. SNCF management did not wish to confirm these figures. The movement leads to many cancellations of trains, in particular regional and in the Paris suburbs.
In Ile-de-France, the mobilization of railway workers hinders the service of many suburban lines. On the international side, Eurostar and Thalys are supposed to operate almost normally, unlike Lyria between France and Switzerland. In the Paris metro, traffic is in line with RATP forecasts, which expected less disruption than on January 19.
Only automatic lines 1 and 14 operate normally. On most other lines, it’s minimum service. The majority of metros only pass during peak hours and in limited numbers. Some stations are closed. Bus and tram drivers must provide 80% of the service. In large cities: disruptions were announced in the Bordeaux tramway, Rennes buses and Lyon metro. In Marseille, the second largest city in France, one of the two metro lines (line 1) and one of the three tram lines are completely at a standstill, and the frequency is slowed down on the other lines. Similarly, around thirty bus lines are completely at a standstill out of a hundred. In Nice, the three tram lines are at a standstill, as well as at least 25 bus lines in the agglomeration.
The national interprofessional strike notice also concerns the entire public service where the previous day of action on January 19 had mobilized 28% of strikers among the 2.5 million state employees, according to a figure from the ministry. . Town halls, such as that of Paris or Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis), keep their doors closed. The municipal nurseries of Montreuil thus closed Tuesday noon.
The mobilization is strong in the refineries and fuel depots of TotalEnergies which have 75 to 100% of strikers and the EDF agents have carried out load reductions. The action began on Monday evening, and the loss of power is approaching 3,000 MW, the equivalent of three nuclear reactors. At EDF, one in two agents went on strike on January 19.
The Normandy refinery has 75% of strikers on Tuesday, those of Feyzin (Rhône) and Donges (Loire-Atlantique) respectively 80 and 90% of strikers, a rate that is found at the bio-refinery of La Mède (Bouches-du -Rhône), and the fuel depot in Flanders (North) is on 100% strike, according to Eric Sellini, national coordinator of the union for TotalEnergies. In Vienne, “Robin Hood” actions to reconnect electricity to cut homes have been claimed by the CGT.
According to the latest Ispos poll, “8 out of 10 French people want to reform the system, without however adhering to the pension reform”, explains on LCI Brice Teinturier, deputy general manager of IPSOS France. If opinions are divided on the terms of the reform, “there is an apparent consensus to say that we cannot stay as is”, explains the specialist. Guest of LCI this Monday morning, MP LFI (Nupes) Clémentine Autain warns the executive about a social situation that could flare up: “It’s a pressure cooker”, while the government reaffirmed this weekend that the starting age at 64 was “non-negotiable”.