France's crippling nationwide strike eases
France's crippling nationwide strike over President Nicolas Sarkozy's pension reform plan was Tuesday expected to ease, as several trade unions announced that their members were returning to work, Xinhua reported.
Work stoppages since October 12 forced the closure of petrol refineries and disrupted the country's transport network.
One in five petrol stations ran out of fuel following a blockade on fuel depots The organization representing fuel suppliers, UFIP, has said it expects supply problems to continue despite the lifting of the blockade on depots Monday.
Rubbish collectors in the city of Marseille were among those back on the job Tuesday.
Nearly all high speed TGV trains were operating out of Paris Tuesday, while an average of 6 out of 10 trains countrywide were back in use, according to the state-run rail operator.
According to the government, the industrial action cost the country an estimated 3 billion euros (4 billion dollars).
Students plan to hold a demonstration Tuesday. Some of the country's more militant trade union leaders have warned that the strike will continue unabated.
"Its not over," CGT union secretary general Bernard Thibault said in a television interview late Monday. "It will continue, it will take other forms, the issues of this movement are not closed, whatever transpires over the coming days."
The pension reform bill, which was passed by the Senate last week, makes provision for the raising of the earliest retirement age from 60 to 62 by the year 2018. For people who have not paid enough into the state pension fund, the retirement age moves up from 65 to 67.