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The biggest strike to hit Paris public transport since 2007 has created major traffic jams, disrupting tourists' plans and forcing commuters to work from home or find alternative ways to reach the office.
French unions were protesting plans for sweeping pension changes by President Emmanuel Macron's government that aim to create a universal pension system, instead of having different pension rules for different jobs.
Critics say that will do away with some transport workers' right to retire early. The fight against the pension changes now includes plans for pilots, nurses and lawyers to strike and protest on Monday.
Paris public transport company RATP said 10 metro lines were closed on Friday and several others, including the RER suburban rail, were severely disrupted.
The French capital was crippled by traffic jams at rush hour on Friday morning. Many Parisians and tourists used city bikes and electric scooters, or simply walked, to get around. Bus and tram schedules were also disrupted.
Messages in French and English on train and bus platforms warned passengers about the strike, the biggest in 12 years. The few trains still circulating were noticeably less crowded than usual.
The ride-hailing company Uber hoped to capitalise on the disruptions by offering two 15-minute rides free on the Jump electric bikes and scooters it has placed around the city.
RATP employees were protesting a pension change planned for next year that critics say will make them work longer before retirement. RATP employees are among the French workers who benefit from a special pension regime that currently allows them to retire on a full pension earlier than most other French workers.
Macron says the planned changes would make the public pension system "fairer".
This article first appeared on www.news.com.au
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