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undergroundnewsroom.com April 26, 2018


High Impact in First Hours of Railway Strike in France

04 April 2018, 01:16 | Damon Campbell

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French rail workers on Tuesday launched the first full day of three months of rolling strikes, as a wave of industrial action hits France over President Emmanuel Macron's planned reforms.

A strike at railway operator SNCF began Monday evening and will run through Thursday morning, with only one in every eight long-distance trains running and one-in-five shorter regional trips due to depart on Tuesday.

Platforms at Gare du Nord, Paris's busiest railway station, were so crowded with commuters that some tumbled onto the tracks and had to be helped back up, television footage showed.

Unions have called for the "strongest possible" strike to protest proposed reforms that they believe would lead to the privatization of the railways, and to call for higher wages and an end to precarious jobs.

SNCF manager Guillaume Pepy, mentioned: "I have to be really clear ... the strike activity will definitely be thoroughly complied with as well as his mosting likely to make the lives of many various other individuals really challenging".

"I want to be very clear ... the strike action will no doubt be widely adhered to and his going to make the lives of a lot of people very hard", he said in a radio interview.

Worldwide train services also face disruption: no trains were set to run between France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.

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Public support for the rail strike stands at just below half, according to an Ifop poll released on Sunday.

Travelers are livid as simply one in 8 high-speed TGVs are arranged as well as simply one in 5 local trains, leaving travelers on jampacked trains. No trains are set to run between France, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain.

Global services, including the Eurostar from London to Paris and Brussels to Lille, as well as trains to Germany, were also affected by the strike action.

Macron wants to transform SNCF, which adds $3.69 billion (3 billion euros) of debt a year to a pile now running at $57.80 billion (47 billion euros), into a profit-maker.

At its core, Macron's reform would abolish the railway employees' quasi-status as civil servants, which includes job-for-life guarantees, retirement at an average age of 54 and automatic annual pay rises. It is also uncertain how long their members' resolve will last and whether the strikes will spread beyond the rail sector as the Communist-rooted CGT wants. This time around, however, all main trade unions in France have backed the railway strike.

Staff at state railway SNCF are leading the strike, but the energy and waste collection sectors are also affected.



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