"Black Tuesday": France challenges disruption from strikes

A one-day strike starting Monday night was expected to cause widespread transport disruption in France, with reduced services on trains and the Paris subway and delays to flights.

On average, just two-thirds of Paris buses and Metro trains were expected to run on what the daily Le Parisien predicted would be a "Black Tuesday."

The strike over the center-right government's economic and labor policies presented another test for Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, following labor unrest on the island of Corsica last week over a planned ferry privatization.

Three Paris Metro lines are expected to be worst affected, while services should be normal on three others, according to the subway operator.

Rail unions were kicking off the strike on Monday night. One-in-three high-speed TGV trains were expected not to run Tuesday, worsening to two-in-three on some regional routes.

Widespread disruptions were also expected with slower trains and on the Paris commuter rail network to the suburbs. But Eurostar links with Britain and the Thalys service to Belgium were expected to be spared.

Three unions representing air traffic controllers also said they would join the strike, which was expected to cause flight delays starting Monday night and lasting until Wednesday morning.

Air France said its long-distance flights should be unaffected but delays and a few cancellations were possible on shorter routes on Tuesday, the AP reports.

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