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French railways hit by strike Tuesday

A French railway train in Monaco
A French railway train in Monaco Reuters/Eric Gaillard

French rail services are to be badly hit by a one-day strike on Tuesday 26 May, the SNCF railway company announced ahead of the stoppage. And entertainment workers occupied a Paris theatre Monday in an ongoing dispute over benefit cuts.

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French transport workers are obliged by law to tell their employer if they intend to take part in a strike, so SNCF management were able to give a picture of the service they would be able to provide during the strike, due to last from 7.00pm on Monday to 8.00am on Wdnesday.

Only a third of intercity trains were expected to run, it warned, but international services, such as Eurostar, would be "almost normal", although there would be no night trains.

Paris regional transport was also to be hit with reduced services on several suburban RER lines.

Three out of four eastern-region TGV trains would run, six out of 10 in Brittany and Pays-de-Loire and only half in the south-west, south-east and the north.

This is the third French rail strike in eight weeks as unions fight a levelling down of conditions as part of a preparation for opening up TGV and intercity services to competition in 2020 and 2023 respectively.

Entertainment workers occupy theatre

Dozens of workers from entertainment and the performing arts on Sunday occupied Paris's well-known Odéon theatre, where star Isabelle Huppert was due to resume her run in Phèdre(s) by Wajdi Mouawad, Sarah Kane and South Africa's JM Coetzee on Tuesday.

They were protesting at an agreement between employers and three small unions to cut 185 million euros to a national pay fund that allows the "intermittents" to receive an income while not working to compensate for their erratic employment patterns.

They were joined by activists from the Nuit Debout movement, which has staged protests at Paris's Place de la République and in other cities over the last few weeks.

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