France Paralyzed By Workers’ Strike
Striking public workers angered by plans to revamp the debt-plagued social security system paralyzed most of France, forcing thousands to walk, hitchhike and cycle to work Friday.
In Paris, all 14 subway lines were shut down and 90 percent of buses were idled. Across France, most long-distance trains were not running. Only 16 percent of airline flights were operating.
Mail went undelivered. Most schools, banks, museums and government offices were closed. Hospital service was scaled back.
The strike and nationwide protests were to denounce plans to freeze public workers’ wages next year and bring their retirement in line with the private sector. That would mean the number of years they must pay into the social security system would be extended from 37 and a half to 40.