French Rail Workers Launch Strike

Commuters board a train at Saint Lazare station in Paris

Commuters board a train at Saint Lazare station in Paris

A strike at railway operator SNCF began Monday evening and will run through Thursday morning, with only one in every eight long-distance trains running and one-in-five shorter regional trips due to depart on Tuesday.

While French business leaders and economists welcomed the plans, several unions have strongly criticized the proposals.

A train at the Gare Saint Lazare in Paris is packed with commuters on Tuesday, as a strike by rail workers severely hit services.

The unions are somewhat weaker than in 1995 and divided in their response to Macron's social and economic reforms.

If the 40-year-old president succeeds it will set the tone for other reform plans, including revamping the education system and overhauling pensions.

Strikes in September failed to stop Mr Macron passing laws that make it easier for firms to hire and fire.

Speaking to parliament, prime minister Edouard Philippe said the way the SNCF operated could not continue. It was, however, "committed to coordination and dialogue with the trade unions", she said. "We need to get to work like everyone else", Aziza Fleris, 56, said.

Preliminary results show Egypt's Sisi leading voting: newspaper
Opposition groups had called for a boycott of this week's vote which they labelled a facade. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was on Thursday re-elected to a second term as the president of Egypt.

SNCF workers enjoy generous conditions, including automatic annual pay rises, early retirement, 28 days of paid annual leave and protection from dismissal.

"I want to be very clear. the strike action will no doubt be widely adhered to and his going to make the lives of a lot of people very hard", Pepy said in a radio interview. Under government plans, these historical benefits would not be applied to new rail staff.

Taking on the railway company's 74,000 workers will be tough for Macron, after he pushed through a liberalization of France's labour code and cut taxes on capital in his first year in office. "The salaries aren't incredible, the work conditions are hard, and for some it means working every other weekend", Mr Martinez said. According to an Ifop poll published by the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, only a minority of the public supports the strikes, but the number has been increasing.

The protesting unions in France believe Macron's ideas would neither resolve SNCF's debt issue nor cure the railway's problems but would hurt the railways.

The government has sought to ease tensions with assurances that the arrival of foreign competition on French rail tracks, pencilled in for gradual rollout from 2020 onwards, could be delayed until as late as 2033 in some cases. The rail disruptions have led to extremely heavy traffic jams on roads around Paris.

Some energy sector workers walked out today in protest against the planned liberalisation of the power sector, but there was little impact on power output.

Nationwide rail strikes caused misery for passengers in France on Tuesday as the country prepared itself for months of potential travel disruption.

Recommended News

  • Ant's absence acknowledged as Dec praised for first solo Saturday Night Takeaway

    Ant's absence acknowledged as Dec praised for first solo Saturday Night Takeaway

    Tonight's show is the first to air since Ant checked into rehab, following his arrest for drink driving last Wednesday. Show regulars Scarlett Moffatt and Stephen Mulhern will also take on greater presenting roles.
    Zlatan Ibrahimović needs just 20 minutes to save the LA Galaxy

    Zlatan Ibrahimović needs just 20 minutes to save the LA Galaxy

    Now we'll bring so many trophies that I can bring in to this club. "I am not arrogant, I am confident". "I feel excited. The lion is hungry". "I feel like Benjamin Button". "Finally I am here, I am excited and looking forward to playing".
    Venus Williams knocked out of Miami Open

    Venus Williams knocked out of Miami Open

    Sloane Stephens is heading to the Miami Open final, after rallying to beat Victoria Azarenka 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the semifinals. Collins won an impressive 66 percent of her service points as she was only broken once by Williams.
  • Marijuana is Battling the Opioid Crisis

    Marijuana is Battling the Opioid Crisis

    Overdose deaths rose 21.5 percent in 2016, a much sharper spike than the 11.4 percent increase seen the previous year. Both studies were released Monday by the journal JAMA Internal Medicine .
    Turkey rejects mediation offer by France

    Turkey rejects mediation offer by France

    Turkey has warned France over bolstering its military presence in Syria, stressing that such a move would amount to an invasion. Turkey has already demanded the immediate withdrawal of Kurdish self-defense forces from Syria's Manbij.
    Bavuma denied ton as South Africa skittle hapless Australia

    Bavuma denied ton as South Africa skittle hapless Australia

    Bavuma and de Kock put on 85 for the seventh wicket, moving the score along steadily for much of the morning. Bavuma finished the over with another boundary to move to 94 before Pat Cummins came back to finish the job.
  • Intel introduced the processor Core i9 with 6 cores for laptops

    Intel introduced the processor Core i9 with 6 cores for laptops

    This new mobile Core chips can support software mitigations and Intel patched to fix the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. Intel also expanded its eighth-generation desktop-class processor lineup today, with the Core i3-8300, i5-8500, and i5-8600.
    Kosovo PM Ramush Haradinaj orders probe into Turkey extraditions

    Kosovo PM Ramush Haradinaj orders probe into Turkey extraditions

    Kosovo has been under pressure from Turkey in recent weeks to take action against schools funded by the Gulen organisation. Erdogan said on Saturday the six men had been captured by Turkish intelligence officers and brought to Turkey.
    Mohamed Salah saves Liverpool after slack defence struggle at Palace

    Mohamed Salah saves Liverpool after slack defence struggle at Palace

    Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana appeared to suffer another injury blow during the Reds' victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday. Sadio Mane's equaliser put him on the cusp of earning bragging rights among his countrymen.
  • Trump and Putin may meet in Washington: White House

    Trump and Putin may meet in Washington: White House

    The White House Easter egg roll dates to 1878. "We have two USA policies on Russian Federation ". There's also the issue of what might happen should the meeting actually take place.
    Man suffers 'severe bleeding,' dies after using synthetic marijuana

    Man suffers 'severe bleeding,' dies after using synthetic marijuana

    They are mind-altering chemicals made up of hundreds of elements that aim to emulate the effect of true marijuana. Officials say there have so far been no deaths connected with the synthetic pot.
    Google celebrates India's first female physician with a doodle

    Google celebrates India's first female physician with a doodle

    Her husband, Gopalrao Joshi , played an important part in her early education as he encouraged her to continue her education. According to the blog, Joshi's young life was tragically cut short when she died of tuberculosis before her 22nd birthday.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.