Cyprus Mail
World

Strike disrupts rail traffic for second day across France

By Ingrid Melander

Half of scheduled train journeys across France were cancelled on Thursday in the second day of a strike against a planned rail reform, bringing some of the worst disruption to the country’s rail network in years.

The strike action risked being extended for a third day after trade unions said an emergency meeting with representatives of President Francois Hollande’s government had ended in a stalemate.

Unions want the government to abandon a planned reform that would pull the service operator SNCF and the rail network RFF into a single holding structure but nonetheless preserve them as separate entities.

They instead want the two to be fully merged into a single operation, as was the case until 1997, and for the government to take on some 40 billion euros of debt owed by the firms.

“We are very angry with the contempt shown by the government,” SUD-Rail unionist Nathalie Bonnet told BFM TV after leaving talks with junior Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier.

“We have made no progress,” she said.

SNCF workers fear their working conditions will be hit and argue that neglect of the tracks was a factor in a 2013 accident in which seven people were killed in a derailment attributed to a fault on a stretch of track just south of Paris.

They further argue that merging the two companies would avoid problems such as when SNCF acknowledged last month it had ordered 2,000 trains for an expanded regional network that were too wide for many station platforms.

The mix-up arose when the RFF transmitted faulty dimensions for its train platforms to the SNCF, which was in charge of ordering trains, local media reported.

The Ile-de-France region around Paris was hit harder than average by Thursday’s strike with only one in three train journeys set to be maintained, SNCF said in a statement.

The rail reform is due to be debated in parliament next week. The unions were set to decide later in the day on whether to prolong the strike.

Related Posts

Two more grain ships sail from Ukraine as third port opens

Reuters News Service

China announces fresh military drills, defends decision to shelve talks with US

Reuters News Service

UN chief demands international access to Ukraine nuclear plant after new attack

Reuters News Service

US Senate approves bill to fight climate change, cut drug costs in win for Biden

Reuters News Service

Israel, Palestinians agree truce from Sunday evening (Updated)

Reuters News Service

Covid lockdown turns Chinese tourist hotspot Sanya into nightmare for stranded tourists

Reuters News Service

1 comment

Comments are closed.