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Truck Strike Ends; Parisians Poor

May 23, 2000

PARIS (AP) _ A 15-day strike by armored truck security guards that left Paris’ automated teller machines empty and people scrambling to find cash came to an end Tuesday.

The guards had gone on strike after several holdups that left colleagues dead. On Tuesday, they agreed to accept a ``risk premium″ of $138 per month _ less than the $208 they sought but far more than the initial offer. The deal also includes a pay increase ranging from 1.5 to 5 percent over two years.

Unions expressed reservations over some portions of the agreement but, overall, said they were happy to end a walkout that has inconvenienced people around France.

Armored truck security guards are responsible, among other things, for delivering cash to refill ATMs at banks. In their absence, more than 60 percent of the machines in Paris emptied out.

With cash growing scarce, special measures had to be put into place, such as allowing banks to recycle their money into cash machines. The state-run train and bus authorities agreed last week to accept checks for as little as 75 cents.

Employers were pressured by Transport Minister Jean-Claude Gayssot to raise the premium and seek a solution to the conflict.

``Today, we have a thought for all those who have lost their lives in this difficult job,″ Thierry Douine, head of the French Confederation of Christian Workers, one of several striking unions, said as he signed the agreement to end the walkout. Eleven security guards have been killed on duty in five years.

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