French rail workers on with strike once again
PARIS - Reuters
Striking French rail workers disrupted train services for the seventh day this month on April 18, spurning government calls to end the industrial action over reforms at the state-owned SNCF railway company.
The rolling strikes, due to stretch on until the end of June, entered a new, more testing phase for unions a day after parliament’s lower house approved the railway reform bill they are fighting. “Unions are free to do as they see fit ... but a majority of French people want this reform,” Labor Minister Muriel Penicaud told public television channel France 2. “There comes a time when you need to bring an end to the strikes.”
All four major unions are contesting a reform which is the biggest since nationalization of the railways in 1937 and seen as a test of President Emmanuel Macron’s determination to pursue a far broader raft of economic and social reforms during a term that runs to 2022.
SNCF management said around one in three high-speed TGV trains were running and that services were cut to two in five trains on regional connections, while international services were down to about 75 percent of normal. That is a lower disruption rate than seen at the outset of the strike action on April 3.