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French railways to strike Wednesday ... taxis too

Trains in a Paris station
Trains in a Paris station Reuters

French railways are to be hit by strikes on Wednesday. But don’t think you can take a taxi instead … they’re taking part in a Europe-wide day of action against America’s Uber.

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Update

Management of the French rail company, SNCF, on Wednesday morning announced that traffic was running as predicted in details given in this article.

Four rail trade unions have backed a strike that starts on Tuesday evening and could drag on through the week.

The SNCF rail company expects major disruption to national and international services:

  • Only one in three high-speed TGV trains will be running in the north and east, one in two in the west and south-east;
  • The Eurostar link to London will be running normally, as will trains to Germany;
  • Three out of four trains on the Thalys service to Belgium and the Netherlands will run;
  • Only half of trains to Spain will run.

In the Paris region:

  • The RER B line that serves Charles de Gaulle airport and Paris’s Gare du Nord will have one train every 15 minutes during the rush hour and one every half hour during the rest of the day;
  • RER C, D and E, linking Paris to parts of the suburbs, will have one in three trains, while RER A, which serves Disneyland and St Germain-en-Laye, will enjoy normal service;
  • One in three Ter suburban trains will run.

Due to a law introduced under the previous government of president Nicolas Sarkozy, transport workers must give notice that the will participate in a strike and 46 per cent of the workforce have done so, according to management.

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The industrial action is against the Socialist government’s plan to reform the rail network.

Unions fear that plans to reduce debt will be at railworkers’ expense and claim that the fusion of two companies, the SNCF and RFF, does not go far enough and could lead to the sale of profitable parts.

Several taxi drivers’ unions have called for a demonstration that will disrupt road traffic in Paris at 11.00am on Wednesday, as part of a Europe-wide protest initiated by London black-cab drivers to try to stop the spread of the Uber taxi-app company, which they accuse of unfair competition.

A report drawn up by Socialist MP Thomas Thévenoud proposes that cars-on-demand services be allowed to expand but that already-existing taxis retain a monopoly on picking up passengers on the street.
 

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