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French strikes enter 23rd day, beating 1995 record

TWO of France’s eight oil refineries were disrupted by strikes today as the action against President Emmanuel Macron’s attack on pensions reached its 23rd day.

The milestone means the strikes have lasted longer than the 22-day walkout in 1995 that defeated former president Jacques Chirac’s attempt to cut French pensions.

Mr Macron has not yet backed down, although ministers are holding talks with trade unions and offering concessions.

Around half of France’s high-speed trains were cancelled yesterday and bus and Paris Metro travel was also affected.

Polls show that most French people back the strikes, and action over the festive period included a Christmas-Eve ballet performance put on by striking Paris Opera dancers for demonstrating workers.

The dancers’ pensions are also under threat, with early-retirement arrangements that take the physical strain of ballet into account set for the chop under Mr Macron’s schemes. 

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