A strike affecting French transport is now the longest taken by rail workers since 1968, entering its 29th day with further demonstrations planned.

Unions are calling on members to stage a mass protest on 9 January against president Emmanuel Macron’s planned pension reform, with a blockade of petrol facilities already planned for 96 hours from 7 January.

There appears to be no end in sight to the nation-wide dispute, with Macron saying his pension reform is needed to make the pension system fairer and more sustainable. He is proposing to replace France’s 42 separate pension regimes with a single, universal points-based system.

Union bosses say the plan will see workers lose out.

French rail operator SNCF has warned services will be “severely disrupted across the entire network” throughout the strike. It warned up to half of high-speed trains could be cancelled, while only one in four intercity trains would be running and half of suburban services cancelled.

The latest strike follows more than a year of “gilets jaunes” protests across France, which disrupted city centres as drivers lashed out at rising fuel prices owing to a tax reform.

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