Strike in Belgium for EU Summit on March 24?

March 5, 2011 on 10:02 am | In Belgium travel, ThereArePlaces.com, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

The EUobserver is reporting that trade unions in Belgium are considering blocking all access to Brussels (roads and train stations) during the March 24th European summit of the European Union. The summit will be held in the building of the council of the European Union at the Rue del la Loi. See this article at the City of Brussels website for more details about the Safety Zone that will surround this area during the summit.

The plan for the strike has not been formalized and it may not occur. However, if you will be traveling in Belgium on or near the date mentioned, we urge you to pay close attention to local news sources and to avoid the area of the strike does take place.

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France Travel – Ouch

October 19, 2010 on 11:05 am | In Europe travel, France Travel, Paris Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | 1 Comment

We expect that you have noticed that the strikes in France, mentioned in our last few blogs, have intensified and do not appear to be letting up. Indeed, a BBC reporter has indicated that he sensed a change in the atmosphere of the strikes and felt that it is possible the demonstrations will turn “angry”. See this report by the BBC for more details.

To show you how bad things are in France, recently a Celebrity Cruise ship on day one of 12-night Mediterranean Cruise was found to have a damaged rudder when docked at Nice, France. The cruise was canceled, but rail services is now so unpredictable in France that the passengers were offered only a 10 hour bus ride to Barcelona, rather than a seat on a high-speed TGV to Paris for a return home.

Our recommendation is that you cancel immediate plans for travel to France. Wait until the strikes and petrol shortage are resolved and, only then, consider returning to the country. We understand the emotions of the strikers and the establishment, but note that the situation is a great loss for tourists and those who depend on them for income, as this is a particularly delightful and popular time of the year to explore the wonders of France.

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Rail Strike in Belgium on Monday

October 15, 2010 on 6:12 pm | In Belgium travel, ThereArePlaces.com, UK Travel, United Kingdom, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

Well, it appears that Europe is ablaze with strikes. On Monday there will be a train strike in Belgium that will impact the country and rail services to Belgium from other countries. See this article for more information. In addition, the BBC has a good description of the problem for the Eurostar from London to Brussels.

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Strikes in France Continue to Impact Travelers

October 15, 2010 on 10:44 am | In France Travel, Normandy, Paris Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | 1 Comment

Well, the French strikers continue to hold their position and the government continues not to budge.

The strikes in Paris and around the country will extend into next week with a major strike planned for October 19, the eve of the French Senate vote on the retirement age bill. See this article from Bloomberg for more details.

One of the related aspects of the strikes and unrest in France over the pension issue is that the country’s petrol refineries have been blockaded by strikers, as have the ports that receive oil from abroad. In short, the country is in danger of running out of fuel over the next ten days, if there is not some change in the situation.

Today, the fuel supply to de Gaulle and Orly airports, which serve Paris, were shut off as the company that operates the pipelines to these airports reported that they had no supplies of fuel. See the BBC for a detailed report on the fuel shortage throughout the country.

If you are planning on traveling in France over the next week, we recommend that you consider changing your plans. It is unlikely that you will find fuel for your car and even if you plan to rely on public transportation, you will likely find cutbacks and abbreviated schedules.

In short, this is not the week to travel France, unless you are planning on walking, bicycling or riding a horse! Even so, the impact of a sustained fuel shortage could have a serious consequences for the the integrity of the infrastructure of France, including the availability of food and basic services.

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More Strikes in France

October 11, 2010 on 10:26 am | In France Travel, Paris Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, international travel, personal travel, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | 2 Comments

The strike season appears to be turning into a year around phenomenon in France, as a major strike has been called for Tuesday that is expected to grind transportation to a halt countrywide (including air, rail and Metro (in Paris)). Further, the strikers will demonstrate again on Saturday. Another aspect of this strike is that it is an “open strike”, which means that the strike could be renewed daily by a vote of the workers supporting the effort.

Most flights into Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports will be canceled, so if you have plans to fly to, from or within France, you should contact your airlines to see what is possible.

This week’s strike in France is a specific response to the Upper House of the French system of government voting to change the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 and the age for a full pension from 65 to 67. Read more details about the strike and the issues behind it at Yahoo news.

If you will be traveling in France tomorrow, avoid gatherings associated with the strike. It is expected that the strike will be large (as all unions seem to be supporting it) and disrupt the normal flow of daily life throughout the country.

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Travel In Europe This Autumn – It’s Great, But…

September 27, 2010 on 9:08 am | In Belgium travel, Europe travel, Spain Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, personal travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | 1 Comment

The countries of Europe are often attractive travel destinations in the autumn. The crowds of summer have departed, as have the high temperatures and uncomfortable humidity. The changing leaves add color, while the cooler temperatures seem to convey a vibrancy that is lacking during other seasons of the year.

Unfortunately, in 2010, autumn seems to be destined to be remembered for strikes. An article in EUbusiness indicates that “radical” Europeans want to force the nations of the European Union into depositing billions of euros with the EU Government in Brussels. In turn, these monies would be forfeitable by any country country that fails to tighten national spending as much as is required to move them back within the deficit spending levels required by EU law.

The first action for creating the deficit reduction plan will be considered on Wednesday in Brussels where it is expected to generate a protest strike of over 100,000 people. A similar protest will take place in Spain on the same day, with other demonstrations planned, but not yet scheduled, across the countries in the EU. Since most member states of the EU have broken through the deficit barrier and are attempting to cut public spending (including changing the retirement systems), it is likely that strikes by concerned citizens will plague EU countries for the rest of the year and, perhaps, beyond. In fact, solving the differences of opinion among member states concerning this issue will be crucial to the future of the European Union.

We recommend avoiding demonstrations or getting anywhere near strikes or gathered strikers. It’s not that we agree or disagree with their stand, it is just that when we are on a long deserved vacation we intend to enjoy it. It is our belief that the easiest and safest way to do that is to avoid all public demonstrations when you travel.

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Strike in France Today

September 6, 2010 on 10:15 pm | In France Travel, Paris Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, air travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

The President of France has proposed raising the retirement age from 60 to 62 and citizens of France seem none too happy about the proposal. There will be a 24 hour strike in France starting Tuesday and it is expected to be significant. See this article in the Telegraph for more details.

Avoid travel in France tomorrow, if possible. If not, stay out of the way of the strikers, as this may be a spirited strike.

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London Tube Strikes Set Through November

August 26, 2010 on 9:21 pm | In London, London travel, ThereArePlaces.com, UK Travel, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

The staff of the London Underground are going to strike in September, October and November. At present strikes are set for September 6, October 3 and November 28. Some of the strikes will initiate at 1700 on the dates set and run for 24-hours, while other unions will start their strikes on the same dates, but not until 2100 hours (for 24-hours). Strikes of the forecast magnitude will cause considerable difficulties for those seeking transit services in London on these dates. For more details see this article by SkyNews.

Although the strikes will be only be of a day’s duration, they will cause chaos in London. If you will be in London on any of these dates, be prepared to hoof it, as the buses will be overwhelmed with passengers. Of course, some planned strikes never materialize and we can only hope that a settlement will be reached soon.

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EU-Wide Strike on September 29, 2010

August 25, 2010 on 10:09 am | In Europe travel, France Travel, Germany travel, Greece Travel, Italy travel, Spain Travel, england travel, strikes and travel | Comments Off

On September 29, 2010 many of Europe’s trade unions are planing an EU-wide protest against the austerity measures imposed by governments in the region. For more details see this excellent article published by the European Voice.

While numerous pan-European actions are still being considered, there are currently plans for strikes in Spain, Italy, Portugal and a mass demonstration in Brussels (that could exceed 70,000 participants).

If you plan on traveling in the EU during this period, be prepared for some inconvenience. We recommend avoiding Brussels on September 29, as the demonstration is being held in advance of a meeting of the EU Finance Ministers in the city on the 30th and 31st of September.

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Greece Travel News – A Broken Record?

July 2, 2010 on 7:18 am | In Greece Travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel restrictions | 1 Comment

According to the Wall Street Journal and a number of other sources, the sixth general strike of the year will be held in Greece next Thursday, July 8. While the support for the general strikes has been declining, they still close the country’s transportation network, which is, of course, bad news for travelers, especially those hoping to reach the Greek Islands.

Our advice: Avoid Athens next Thursday and count on public travel being unavailable.

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