woman trotting during a strike

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Reuters

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Some workers took electric scooters to defeat the strike

The French capital sees huge traffic jams and a huge crowd on the few subway lines where transport workers go on strike to reform the planned retirement system.

Ten of the 16 Paris lines were closed and the service of others was interrupted.

Many workers cycled, walked or stayed at home, while free trips were offered on the RATP's electronic transport moped and on the networks of electric bicycles and motorized scooters. ; Uber.

The strike, the largest since 2007, is the first major step against President Macron's global retirement plan.

It would replace dozens of different pension schemes for different professions.

Members of other professions, including lawyers, airline staff and medical staff, called for more strikes from Monday.

What is the situation in Paris?

There were 235 km of traffic jams in the Paris region, officials said, more than double the normal.

Local media showed photos of crowded platforms on four subway lines, where trains were running.

The newspaper Le Parisien said that the legal requirement to maintain a minimum level of service – put in place following a big strike in 2007, also opposed to a pension reform – was not not filled.

Three of the city's five regional railway lines, operated by the national railway operator SNCF, operated normally, but the other two lines offered reduced rush hour service and no train service for the rest of the day.

Travelers have reported rising prices on the Uber phone service, a reporter posting a screenshot showing a trip through the city costing $ 100 (£ 90), about three times the usual fare.

However, Uber also offered two 15-minute free rides on his electric bikes and Jump scooters in the city. RATP offered 30-minute free rides on the Cityscoot electric moped system.

Paris has about 20,000 electric scooters available for rent.

Why is pension reform controversial?

The three major RATP unions called the strike a "dizzying blow" to Macron's reform plans.

Metro workers say the new universal pension would force them to work longer by removing their right to retire earlier, negotiated several decades ago to make up for the time spent in hiding.

On average, subway workers retire at age 55, while most French workers retire at age 63.

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Reuters

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The busy metro station in Republic was closed

The move to a point-based universal retirement system would also remove the most advantageous pensions for a range of jobs ranging from sailors to notaries to opera workers in Paris.

Those who retire before age 64 will receive a lower pension. For example, a person retiring at age 63 would receive five percent less.

Thursday, the French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, insisted that the reforms would be fair for everyone.

"We will build a truly universal system in which every euro paid will offer the same rights to all, that it is a worker, a trader, a researcher , a farmer, an official, a doctor or a contractor, "he said. I said.

The French government wants Parliament to vote on the plans early next year.

Last year, lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favor of redesigning the railway operator SNCF, which saw employees lose generous employment and retirement guarantees. This followed months of animated strikes by SNCF workers.

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