Europe News

Scenes from the Strikes in London and Paris

Share

Strikes Hit Commuters

London's morning commute was thrown into disarray Tuesday after a that left the subway system -- the tube -- all but closed. In France, strikes shut down trains, planes, buses, subways, post offices and schools. Without London’s underground rail system, commuters faced the choice of cycling, cramming into buses or walks of up to 1 hour to get to work. Strikes by maintenance workers began Sunday, but the big impact to service started at 9 pm Monday local time as ticket and service staff walked of
Photo: Pierre Verdy | AFP | Getty Images

London's morning commute was thrown into disarray Tuesday after a 24-hour union strike that left the subway system—the tube—all but closed. In France, strikes shut down trains, planes, buses, subways, post offices and schools.

Without London’s underground rail system, commuters faced the choice of cycling, cramming into buses or walks of up to 1 hour to get to work. Strikes by maintenance workers began Sunday, but the big impact to service started at 9 pm Monday local time as ticket and service staff walked off the job.

Those workers and their union protesting 800 job cuts planned to trim the budget of Transport for London. In France, the strike coincides with the start of debate in parliament over a plan to overhaul the money-losing pension system so it will break even in 2018. Commuters in Paris packed into cars during the reduced service, and London buses were overflowing. City sidewalks were full of walkers and thousands of bikers took to the streets in both capitals.

So, what do the streets of these two European capitals look like amid the strikes? Click ahead for scenes from the commuter troubles in London and Paris.

By Kim Khan, CNBC Europe
Posted 7 Sept 2010

Strikes Begin in Paris

Strikes hobbled public transit in France and London on Tuesday, forcing tourists and commuters to bear the brunt of a wave of discontent over government cost-cutting measures that are expected to prompt walkouts across Europe this fall. French unions staged a nationwide walkout over plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, cutting service on trains, planes, buses and subways.
Photo: AP

Strikes hobbled public transit in France and London on Tuesday, forcing tourists and commuters to bear the brunt of a wave of discontent over government cost-cutting measures that are expected to prompt walkouts across Europe this fall.

French unions staged a nationwide walkout over plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, cutting service on trains, planes, buses and subways.

Pedestrian Zones Appear as Cars Stay Away

Already discouraged from driving into London at peak times by the congestion charge on cars within certain city limits, few drivers braved commuting in to work or for business.The resulting decline in cars and taxis resulted in some surprisingly pedestrian-friendly zones appearing, such as streets near the Bank of England. Those biking away from the City of London or the West End also enjoyed open roads as buses slowly moved in the opposite direction.
Photo: Sharon Lorimer for CNBC.com

Already discouraged from driving into London at peak times by the congestion charge on cars within certain city limits, few drivers braved commuting in to work or for business.

The resulting decline in cars and taxis resulted in some surprisingly pedestrian-friendly zones appearing, such as streets near the Bank of England.
Those biking away from the City of London or the West End also enjoyed open roads as buses slowly moved in the opposite direction.

Congestion on the Paris Subways

French unions staged a nationwide walkout over plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, cutting service on trains, planes, buses and subways."I'm just getting tired of this because this is not the first time," said Henda Fersi, a passenger at the Part-Dieu train station in Lyon in southeast France. "I understand the strikers' point of view but, still, they put us in a difficult situation and we're penalized."
Photo: AP

French unions staged a nationwide walkout over plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, cutting service on trains, planes, buses and subways.

"I'm just getting tired of this because this is not the first time," said Henda Fersi, a passenger at the Part-Dieu train station in Lyon in southeast France. "I understand the strikers' point of view but, still, they put us in a difficult situation and we're penalized."

Extra Buses Offer Little Help

The mayor promised 100 extra buses to help ease the commute, but commuters at London Bridge Station were resigned for a long wait to reach work. At Paddington Station, crammed buses did not even try to stop for more passengers, leaving many stranded and looking for alternate ways to travel.
Photo: Sharon Lorimer for CNBC.com

The mayor promised 100 extra buses to help ease the commute, but commuters at London Bridge Station were resigned for a long wait to reach work.

At Paddington Station, crammed buses did not even try to stop for more passengers, leaving many stranded and looking for alternate ways to travel.

Commuting via Water Taxi

Commuters queue for water taxis against a backdrop of Britain's Houses of Parliament in central London, on September 7, 2010.  Thousands of workers walked out during the evening rush hour at 5:00 pm Monday, in protest at plans to axe 800 jobs in a cost-cutting measure.
Photo: Ben Stanstall | AFP | Getty Images

Commuters queue for water taxis against a backdrop of Britain's Houses of Parliament in central London, on September 7, 2010.  Thousands of workers walked out during the evening rush hour at 5:00 pm Monday, in protest at plans to axe 800 jobs in a cost-cutting measure.

No Ride Today

The Rail Maritme and Transport unions called a 24-hour strike and more are possible as the government moves to implement sharp austerity measures to cut its deficit. RMT said the job cuts were just "the tip of the iceberg," according to Reuters.
Photo: Sharon Lorimer for CNBC.com

The Rail Maritme and Transport unions called a 24-hour strike and more are possible as the government moves to implement sharp austerity measures to cut its deficit. RMT said the job cuts were just "the tip of the iceberg," according to Reuters.

Pedestrians Crowd The Streets

The Rail Maritme and Transport unions called a 24-hour strike and more are possible as the government moves to implement sharp austerity measures to cut its deficit. RMT said the job cuts were just "the tip of the iceberg," according to Reuters.
Photo: Sharon Lorimer for CNBC.com

Commuters cross the London Bridge as their main forms of transportation are either closed or overwhelmed. Trains running above ground are running slowly, increasing foot and car traffic on London's streets.

Mayor Encourages 'Boris Bikes'

London Mayor Boris Johnson cycled to work as usual the morning of the strike and encouraged Londoners to use the new bike hire scheme, also known as "Boris Bikes." Bikes were delivered to key commuter areas the day before the strike. Journeys under 30 minutes are free, but many found that in places such as St. Paul's Cathedral that there was no room to return the bikes and faced paying for additional time.
Photo: Sharon Lorimer for CNBC.com

London Mayor Boris Johnson cycled to work as usual the morning of the strike and encouraged Londoners to use the new bike hire scheme, also known as "Boris Bikes."

Bikes were delivered to key commuter areas the day before the strike. Journeys under 30 minutes are free, but many found that in places such as St. Paul's Cathedral that there was no room to return the bikes and faced paying for additional time.

Protests in Paris

A person holds a banner that reads 'Metro work vault' as people demonstrate in Paris, during a one-day national strike action against the government pension reform bill.
Photo: Bertrand Langlois | AFP | Getty Images

A person holds a banner that reads 'Metro work vault' as people demonstrate in Paris, during a one-day national strike action against the government pension reform bill.

Paris Train Station

French commuters walk on a platform at Gare du Nord railway station on September 7, 2010 in Paris during a National one-day of action against a government pension reform bill. French President Nicolas Sarkozy's government faces a showdown with angry trade unions as thousands prepared to march against plans to raise the minimum retirement age to 62.
Photo: Pierre Verdy | AFP | Getty Images

French commuters walk on a platform at Gare du Nord railway station on September 7, 2010 in Paris during a National one-day of action against a government pension reform bill.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's government faces a showdown with angry trade unions as thousands prepared to march against plans to raise the minimum retirement age to 62.

Public Servants Protest

A man belonging to the French Police trade union 'Unite SGP Police Force ouvriere' holds a flag as he poses next to a placard reading 'retirement at 60, stress + work hardness + dangerousness' during a demonstration in Paris as part of a national one-day of action against a government pension reform bill.
Photo: Joel Saget | AFP | Getty Images

A man belonging to the French Police trade union 'Unite SGP Police Force ouvriere' holds a flag as he poses next to a placard reading 'retirement at 60, stress + work difficulty + dangerousness' during a demonstration in Paris as part of a national one-day of action against a government pension reform bill.