Soccer fans struggle as French strikes disrupt travel

Soccer fans struggle as French strikes disrupt travel

Trade unionists are attempting to cause maximum disruption during Euro 2016, a leading member of the Irish diaspora has said.

To many fans, France's transport system has seemed on the verge of collapse.

But it has stopped short of a complete standstill despite opposition to government labour reforms spreading.

Eoin Campbell, president of Lyon's French-Irish Association, said over the last few weeks the workers' strikes had been a major concern.

"It is very rare that things come to a complete standstill," he said. "What they do is they reduce the number of Metro carriages, they will close for an hour at this time of day, an hour at that time of day, a line won't function and it will be replaced with buses.

"It is disruption rather than stopping things but the sheer number of people in town at the minute causing that sort of disruption could cause awful trouble."

Refineries were blocked so fuel trucks could not deliver, and panic-buying in the southern city led to half-hour queues at 11pm.

Railway workers attached to unions, some with links to the French Communist Party, stopped some services, air traffic controllers have taken action in recent days, and bus services have been scrapped.

At Lyon's Part-Dieu railway station young people proffered a petition supporting the action.

Northern Ireland fans, some delayed for hours by the strike, were bemused.

The battleground is over a French principle - a job for life - which has existed for generations but which opponents argue hampers business productivity.

The government is trying to reform or undermine the system, depending on one's point of view, amid a state of emergency linked to Islamic State (IS) attacks while hosting a major football tournament.

East Belfast father and son Jim and Kirk Spence said they had suffered three cancelled trains and had to travel to Lyon by bus.

Mr Campbell said people in the Rhone's major city had been confused about whether they would be able to travel and if the Metro underground would function.

But he added that citizens of one of France's largest cities were getting on with life despite the disruption around them.


More in this Section

Prisoners involved in five-hour hostage situation at Midlands PrisonPrisoners involved in five-hour hostage situation at Midlands Prison

Update: Kayleigh O'Brien has been found safe and wellUpdate: Kayleigh O'Brien has been found safe and well

Mayo council warns motorists of flash flooding risks in advance of yellow rain warningMayo council warns motorists of flash flooding risks in advance of yellow rain warning

€170m spent to put homeless families in emergency accommodation last year€170m spent to put homeless families in emergency accommodation last year


Lifestyle

Keep chomping on those carrots so your eyes will be in perfect working order for that prolonged annual gaze through the keyhole as Home of the Year returns for a sixth series next week.Home of the Year offers a good excuse for a bit of good-natured interiors voyeurism

They differ from the more prevalent oranges we eat because their flesh, and often the skin, is crimson or deep red in colour.Michelle Darmody: The best time of year to buy blood oranges

The annual Members Exhibition now underway at the Lavit Gallery in Cork features 92 works from 72 artists.The exhibition runs until March 7.Under the hammer: Your guide to upcoming auctions

There’s an oriental theme at the James Adam ‘At Home’ auction in Dublin, says Des O’SullivanAuctions: Sale full of eastern promise

More From The Irish Examiner