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London Underground Strike Mires 3.5M Commutes

Millions of Londoners struggled to get to work by road, rail, boat and bicycle Tuesday as a strike by London Underground workers shut down much of the city's subway system.

Thousands of maintenance workers, drivers and station staff walked off the job Monday evening for 24 hours in a dispute over 800 planned job cuts, mostly among station staff, that they say will hit service and safety.

Transport for London, which runs the Underground - known as the Tube - says there will be no compulsory layoffs.

Meanwhile, across the channel in France, unions upset with plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 shut down trains, planes, buses, subways, post offices and schools.

The French retirement age of 60 is already among the lowest in Europe.

In contrast, neighbouring Germany has decided to bump up the retirement age from 65 to 67.

Unions hoped to mobilize some 2 million street protesters at more than 200 demonstrations throughout France Tuesday.

More than 3.5 million people use the London subway system daily. Transport for London said some services were operating on 10 of the city's 11 subway lines, with 40 percent of trains running.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union said support for the strike was strong and only a skeleton service was operating.

Buses were packed, and thousands of people were expected to use extra boat services on the River Thames.

Mayor Boris Johnson, who cycled to a meeting Tuesday morning, said that "Londoners will face some disruption, but the city is not paralyzed - and people will still be able to get around."

The strike is due to end Tuesday evening, but service will not be back to normal until Wednesday.

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