Transport strikes continue in France as lorry drivers block roads

Dec 07, 2019

Lorry drivers have blocked numerous motorways in France with their vehicles in protest at a tax increase on fuel.

Toll booths on the A8 in southern France and the A36 in the east of the country were blocked on Saturday morning, the broadcaster Franceinfo reported.

The action had been called by the trade union OTRE among others.

“Everything is going according to plan,” Jean-Marc Rivera, spokesman for the union, told the station BFMTV.

The reason for the strike is a planned fuel tax increase for 2020 when a tax break for fuel expires.

Should this tax increase be in fact introduced, that would be a severe blow to the 40,000 freight transport companies, the union said.

“Under the pretext of increasing the budget for road infrastructure … the government is imposing this obligation solely on French companies by protecting foreign lorries,” it said.

Already in recent weeks, construction and agricultural vehicles had blocked oil refineries in the country in protest at the government’s plans, raising concerns that petrol could become scarce.

Meanwhile, strikes by workers in local and long-distance public transport against the government’s planned pension reform continued on Saturday.

The French state railway SNCF had announced that only 10 to 15 per cent of the trains would operate.

The Paris Metro was also on strike again, with many lines still not served.

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