French rail strike enters second week

Now Reading:

French rail strike enters second week

French rail strike enters second week
Text size Aa Aa

Striking French rail workers have clashed with police near the parliament building in Paris, where MPs are debating reforms to tackle the rail sector’s soaring debt.

They are angry that government plans would fail to fully merge service operator SNCF and the rail network operator into a single entity.

Many union workers have returned to work but two unions still backing the strikes, the CGT and Sud-Rail, say government plans will lead to job losses without reducing the debt.

France’s longest rail strike is into its second week just as the peak tourist season starts.

Passengers’ patience is wearing thin.

One man said: “It’s a scandal, enough is enough. One day is okay but the right to strike must have its limits”.

A woman said “I can’t stop paying my monthly rail ticket because it’s paid automatically by the bank. Some of my friends are not going to renew their rail cards after they expire.”

The SNCF has taken costly special measures, including hiring thousands of extra workers, to ensure high school students got priority places as they headed to sit their final exams this week.

On Tuesday, 60 percent of trains on major routes were expected to run as normal. One in two trains were expected to run to Italy and Switzerland and one in three to Spain.

Services to Germany and the UK remain unaffected.