French railway workers to strike next week

Passengers crowd Paris's Gare de Lyon during a strike in 2012
Passengers crowd Paris's Gare de Lyon during a strike in 2012 ReutersCharles Platiau

French railways face disruption next week when workers start a strike against a government plan to reform the network, claiming that it will not tackle the network’s debt and could lead to the break-up of the network.


The biggest railworkers’ union, the CGT, and a smaller one, Sud, have called the strike to start at 7.00pm on Tuesday 10 June and it is likely to continue as the government

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prepares to put its plan to the National Assembly on 17-19 June.

Another union may join the industrial action on 11 June.

Transport Minister Frédéric Cuvillier will meet the three unions on 12 June.

The reform proposes the merger of the two companies that run the network, the SNCF and the RFF, and aims to stop the network’s 40-billion-euro debt increasing and open it up to competition.

The unions say that the merger plans do not go far enough, that increased competition could mean the break-up of the network and that savings are likely to be made at the expense of the workforce.

Management accuses them of raising demands that have nothing to do with the bill.

Cuvillier seized on the recent revelation that a number of stations’ platforms have to be adjusted because new trains are too wide to justify the merger of the SNCF and RFF.

Several thousand railworkers demonstrated in favour of a “different reform” in Paris on 22 May.

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