“I will carry out these reforms right to the end. Nothing will put me off my goal”
“Bernard Thibault has made it possible to untangle this crisis as of the first day of the conflict,” Claude Gueant, a senior aide to Sarkozy said.
Thibault said he would accept company-by-company negotiations with management and government representatives, backing down from his earlier demand for national talks.
Other union leaders, who met on Wednesday with Xavier Bertrand, France‘s labour minister, were also ready for talks.
“Even the CGT seems ready to negotiate, let’s not waste any time, this morning if possible, let’s negotiate,” Jacques Voisin, head of the CFTC union, said after meeting Bertrand.
The strikes are also being seen as a test of union strength.
Only around 8 per cent of workers belong to a union and membership has fallen in recent years so they do not want to alienate members who do not benefit from the special pensions.
The streets of Paris were heaving with mopeds, bikes, cars and pedestrians from before dawn as people had to do without France‘s metro and bus system.
Only a handful of trains were scheduled to run on Wednesday, while Paris‘s transport system operated reduced services.