Taxis blocked several major routes across France on Monday in order to obtain from Health Insurance a renegotiation of patient transport, with snail operations in Paris, Marseille or Bordeaux. In parallel with the anger of farmers, synonymous with road blockages for ten days, it is the turn of taxi drivers to give voice with a “renewable” day of mobilization at the call of four national organizations. “We stand in solidarity with the farmers but it’s not the same fight,” said David Barthez, 47, a taxi driver since 2006 in Toulouse.
From Paris to Marseille, from Nantes to Nice via Lille and Nancy, the demonstrators are demanding a renegotiation of the conditions of remuneration for patient transport, while the National Health Insurance Fund (Cnam) has put on the table an agreement judged unfavorable by the unions who demanded a status quo. Taxis fear that the new conditions will force them to take additional discounts on their rates for medical transportation, while forcing them to carpool patients.
“The worse things go, the more we are asked to make discounts!”, said indignant Éric Roulière-Laumonier, president of the Bordeaux Métropole and Gironde Taxi Union (STBMG). “We will not give up, we will go all the way to get back on good foundations” with the Cnam, he said. In Île-de-France, while agricultural unions have decided to lay siege to the capital from 2:00 p.m., a taxi snail operation was launched early Monday on the A13 towards Porte d'Auteuil on the ring road.
In New Aquitaine, some 500 taxis mobilized, according to the organizers and the prefecture, for a snail operation on the Bordeaux ring road, a nerve center between Paris and Spain already blocked last week by several hundred angry farmers . In Bouches-du-Rhône, taxis carried out two snail operations Monday morning: a procession towards the prefecture in the center of Marseille and another on the A8 motorway near Aix-en-Provence, complicating traffic .
“The Health Insurance Fund has decided to impose rates on us without negotiation,” said Céline Puech, who works as a taxi (medical and classic) in Marseille. “We want a return to the negotiating table, we cannot accept this pricing. The taxis have a lot of loads, we work endless hours. We are very angry,” she said by telephone from the procession. Other demonstrations were organized in Brest, Quimper, Blois, Châteauroux, Orléans, Tours and even Toulouse, where the local branch of the National Taxi Union (UNT) claims “more than 400” demonstrators who notably blocked the access to Blagnac airport.
LIVE - Angry farmers: government to announce new measures “within 48 hours”
Around fifty drivers were also present late Monday morning near Toulouse station, where some set tires on fire and blocked access to the drop-off point. “The Cnam does not respect our work, they want to force us to do shared transport but that is not possible,” assures David Barthez. “Some have to do dialysis and have to be transported quickly, we can’t pick up other clients on the way.”
Taxi demonstrations had already taken place throughout France on December 11 to protest against the new Social Security finance law, which pools the journeys of medical patients. Medical transport represented reimbursements of nearly 5.5 billion euros in 2022, and 65 million trips were made over the year for taxis and light medical vehicles (VSL) alone, according to the authors of the text of the law. Nearly 15% of journeys are already shared. The idea is to reduce the cost of travel for Social Security by 100 million euros per year between 2025 and 2027, as well as pollution.