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France hit by rail strike

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France hit by rail strike


France’s rail workers are striking for the first time since last November, and it has produced chaos in Paris.

International traffic is unaffected, but the 24-hour strike against the company’s restructuring plan for the freight sector, which unions say will cost 6000 jobs, appears solid. However, management says only around a quarter of the workforce has answered the unions’ call. Strikers are leafleting travellers to argue their case; this is as important for them as industrial action because new public sector minimum service legislation means a complete stoppage is illegal. One commuter said: “The train arrived a little late, which is a shame because there were a lot of people. We’re packed like sardines on the platform, but it’s never easy.” Another said: “It’s awful, as usual. There are always problems in any case, whether there’s a strike or not, there’s always something to worry about.” The high speed train network in the east is running normally, and elsewhere it is more of a restricted service than a full-blown national strike. Three of the four main unions are backing the workers, and the public appears broadly supportive of their claims – for now. The strike ends tomorrow.

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