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Scott Jagow: Being stuck in Paris doesn’t sound so bad. Unless you live there and can’t get to your job. Today’s being called Black Thursday in France. The country is facing a massive transportation shutdown. Transport workers are protesting President Nicholas Sarkozy’s reforms. More now from Eleanor Beardsley in Paris.
Eleanor Beardsley: In the biggest union mobilization in 12 years, only a fraction of the country’s trains will run. Paris will be paralyzed.
This is the first showdown between the unions and France’s reform-minded president. Sarkozy wants to reduce retirement benefits — like calling it quits at 50 — for select employees in the country’s state-run rails and utilities.
The last time a government tried that was in 1995. The prime minister buckled after weeks of crippling strikes.
But Pierre Briancon, paris correspondent for financial website BreakingNews.com, says Sarkozy is likely to win this time.
Pierre Briancon: He has said very clearly that whatever the outcome, he has been elected to implement the reforms. He’s got the political legitimacy, and the unions don’t.
The strikes are the first big test for Sarkozy. How he handles them may determine the fate of his other reforms.
In Paris, I’m Eleanor Beardsley for Marketplace.
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