PARIS — Strikes continued to cripple France’s transport system Monday, as workers walked out in protest of the government’s planned reforms to the pension system — and disruptions are set to continue.
The majority of lines in the Paris metro system will be closed Tuesday, while train service will be severely disrupted, and, to a lesser extent, air travel.
More than 800,000 protestors took to the streets around the country last Thursday.
The end-of-year disruption, during the crucial spending season, comes a year after the yellow vest protest movement — which turned violent — weighed on holiday purchases and spooked international tourists.
The Finance Ministry pledged to meet this week with businesses affected by a drop in sales due to the strikes, with some estimates of lost sales in the range of 30 percent.
Officials from the Finance Ministry said business over the weekend was “mixed” in Paris, but remained “good” in other cities, while the national association of shopping centers, the CNCC, said malls in the Paris region saw a 6 percent drop in traffic, according to Agence France-Presse.
The French textile sector was already struggling before the strikes hit, with the country’s sales of clothing and textiles down 1.3 percent in value terms in the first nine months of the year, according to the Institut Français de la Mode.
But French businesses may have benefited from a prestrike boost from Black Friday. Although the country doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, retailers were promoting special offers for Black Friday throughout the last week of November, and the CNCC noted a 20 percent increase in traffic at malls around the country that weekend. Before the strikes hit, shopping centers in France began to post sales growth this year, for the first time in several years.
Webloyalty Panel, a group of 30 leading French e-commerce sites, noted that it hadn’t seen a significant change in Internet sales, but did notice a shift in purchases from desktop computers to mobile devices.
“After four days of strikes, we did not notice a change in the volume of online sales. But we did notice a significant shift in orders made from desktop computers to mobile devices. since the start of the strike,” said Rodolphe Oulmi, who heads Webloyalty France.