France

How the French rail strikes will affect services on Wednesday

Commuters are set for more travel headaches over the coming days as workers at France's national rail operator SNCF are set for their latest two-day strike.

Services will be disrupted from 8pm on Tuesday until 7.55 am on Friday.

One TGV train out of three is expected to be operating on Wednesday, as well as two TER and two Transilien trains out of every five and one Intercite train out of four.

On international services, there will be four Eurostar trains out of five, one Lyria train out of three, while Thalys traffic will be "almost normal", according to the SNCF.

In Paris anyone taking the RER B, which serves both Paris airports will have to change trains at Gare du Nord. Only half of the usual number of trains will run between Gare du Nord and Charles de Gaulle airport and around two thirds of trains between Gare du Nord and the southern end of the line at Robinson.

The other RER commuter lines around Paris will also be affected to differing degrees.

These disruptions are the latest of three months of rolling strikes planned by rail workers that began on April 3 over plans to overhaul the heavily indebted train operator SNCF, the biggest test yet to President Emmanuel Macron's wide-ranging drive to reform the country's economy.

The strikes have caused major travel headaches for the 4.5 million daily rail users in France although they are causing less disruption than when they first started on April 3rd when only one in eight TGV services was running.

In a recent television interview, the French president who had hardly spoken about the conflict publicly, vowed to stand firm. “I will go to the end of these reforms,” he said. “It is essential we go ahead, not to do so would be a political hypocrisy”.

"I believe, as the unions do, that we need a strong rail service, a strong SNCF, and I respect their struggle," Macron told TF1 television in his first comments on the rolling strikes launched last week.

"But I'm also asking them to fully consider the needs of our fellow citizens who have to put up with this, of the companies that could fail because of this strike," Macron said.

"The right answer is not to abandon this reform, but to carry it out together," he said.

"But I am going to see this through to the end."

The CGT union blasted him as "a hesitant president who didn't say much, who in all likelihood has not got a good understanding of the reform plans, and who, far from reassuring us, has strengthened the determination of the rail workers".

The unions object to plans to deny new SNCF recruits benefits such as jobs for life and early retirement, and fear Macron's proposal to transform the operator into a state-owned joint stock company could eventually see it privatised.

Original Article

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *