Nationwide French strike causes massive traffic delays, keeps millions of kids from school
By DEBORAH SEWARD Associated Press WriterPARIS January 29, 2009 (AP)
French workers demonstrate in the streets of Nice, southern France,Thursday, Jan 29, 2009,
Hundreds of thousands of angry and fearful French workers mounted nationwide strikes and protests Thursday to demand President Nicolas Sarkozy do far more to fight the economic crisis.
Public and private sector workers united in the protest to seek increases in salaries, greater protection for their jobs and more intensive government efforts to simulate the economy.
Commuters in Paris braved freezing temperatures and biked, walked and even took boats to work, as trains were idled by the strike and stations stood empty. But a 2007 law ensuring minimal transport service meant that some subways, buses and suburban rail lines still had to operate — and those that did were stuffed to the gills. Delays were considerable.
Some schools were closed, banks were shut, and mail went undelivered as thousands of teachers and postal employees across the country stayed off the job. Some workers at factories hit by layoffs also joined the strike. Hospital staff also stayed off the job.