France Railway network has been hit hard due to the on-going railway strike against President Emmanuel Macron’s labour reforms on Wednesday.
The protestors declared April 3 as “Black Tuesday’, while claiming that the strike shall spread over a period of three months affecting two days in a week, as per certain media reports.
France’s national state-owned railway company, The Societe Nationale des Chemins de fer français (SNCF) is at the forefront of the strike opposing the recent decision of President Macron to take away certain employment benefits given to their workers.
SNCF workers enjoy generous conditions, including automatic annual pay raises, early retirement, 28 days of paid annual leave and protection from dismissal. Their close relatives are also entitled to free rail tickets.
Now the Macron government wants to phase out the special SNCF contracts, proposing to put new hires on contracts like those that apply elsewhere in the industry.
The aim is to open up the state railways to competition from 2023 to help SNCF to pay a debt amounting €46.6bn to the European Union.
As part of the strike, only one in eight high-speed TGVs is scheduled to run while only one in five regional trains is operating.
With the four main rail unions observing the strike, services have been severely curtailed. Some 77 percent of SNCF drivers were believed to be on strike. The company said 34 percent of its staff overall were striking.(Minimal edits applied, story generated from syndicated ANI feed)