Paris (AFP)

Never seen for 12 years: the public transport of the RATP will circulate dropper Friday in the Paris region, where the traffic of the board will be strongly disrupted by a strike very followed, first salvo of the mobilizations announced against the pension reform .

With ten closed metro lines, some "partially open", a handful of RERs only at peak times and only one third of the buses in circulation, the traffic will be "extremely disturbed", warned the RATP management.

"A first warning shot," warn the unions who called for the strike, including the three representative organizations, Unsa, CGT and CFE-CGC. They decreed the "general mobilization" against the pension reform and the maintenance of the special regime of agents of the Paris transport authority.

The unions point out that this scheme takes into account the "specific constraints" and "difficulties linked to (their) public service mission". A device destined to disappear with the implementation of the "universal system" of retirement points by President Emmanuel Macron.

Their strike will be held the day after a speech by Prime Minister Philippe Philippe, who tried Thursday to "remove the concerns, misunderstandings" on this reform. In front of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE), he urged "trust", promised "justice" and committed to "more listening, more dialogue".

At RATP, it will be the strongest mobilization since the strike of October 18, 2007, already against a reform of the special pension plans, under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy. That day, when railway workers were also on strike, the RATP network was almost paralyzed.

The mass mobilization expected Friday "shows the level of dissatisfaction of the agents of the RATP," noted the general secretary of the CGT, Philippe Martinez, Thursday on RTL.

- "Awareness" -

In the company, "the agents are very worried," said AFP Thierry Babec, Secretary General of Unsa-RATP, the first syndicate of management.

"We want to maintain the specific guarantees of our pension plan" because, "for us, the only real compensation to the constraints of the public service, such as work on weekends, at night, is retirement," he explained.

With the universal system, "we will no longer have compensation," he criticized.

"This is the reform too.There is an awareness of employees," said Bertrand Hammache, Secretary General of the CGT-RATP (second union).

And this reform arrives in a company "in full transformation", with the arrival of the competition at the end of 2024, as well as a "productivity plan" resulting in job cuts and "the intensification of work for those who remain", he lamented.

For the CFE-CGC (third organization), with this reform, "the employees have a lot to lose" and "the supervisors will be particularly penalized".

"The pension plan is part of the social contract" between the company and its employees, it should not be "questioned without compensation", says the union of executives, who wants with the strike "weigh on the negotiations to come ".

Negotiating under what conditions? The Prime Minister repeated Thursday that the factors of difficulty and danger would be included in the reform bill. A text that will be voted by "next summer".

Previously, there will be "citizen consultations", until the end of the year, and consultations with the social partners, "until early December".

But opponents of the reform will not wait. Monday, the lawyers, with airline pilots, flight attendants, stewards and medical professions, will demonstrate in Paris to defend their "autonomous" supplementary pension schemes.

FO will gather against the reform on September 21 in the capital, before the national day of action organized on September 24 by the CGT, joined by Solidaires and SUD-Rail.

© 2019 AFP