Strike continues in France as TGVs remain disrupted
Strike action is continuing across France today (Sunday December 8) and for the foreseeable future, affecting SNCF train services including TGVs; as stations fear “dangerous” conditions come Monday.
Passengers are advised to avoid travelling on SNCF, Transilien, and RATP services.
On Sunday, just one in six TGV Inoui services are reported as running, one in six Ouigo TGVs; one in six Transilien services, one in 10 Intercites, and two in 10 TER lines.
Eurostar services between London and Paris are running, but there are a number of cancellations. Passengers are advised to check their service before travelling.
Train company SNCF said that passengers should also avoid Transilien services tomorrow (Monday December 9), as stations in Île-de-France are expected to be “very dangerous” due to overcrowding.
Alain Krakovitch, director general of SNCF Transilien, said: "Our responsibility is clear: to not endanger our clients. Therefore, we recommend all passengers who are able, to not come to the stations on Monday."
Transport company RATP also said: “All passengers who can change their journeys [are advised to do so], due to the high risk of overwhelming the network [on Monday].”
The government has been meeting “all weekend” to discuss the issues, with President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe set to gather relevant ministers at Matignon this evening. A response from the government within the next two days.
Today is the fourth day of the movement, which began on Thursday December 5, and saw more than 800,000 protesters from across a wide range of industries strike and march across France, united against the government’s proposed pension reform, as well many other sector-specific grievances.
It is not clear how long the strike will last. A second massive day of action is planned for Tuesday December 10.
Philippe Martinez, general secretary of major workers’ union the CGT, has said that the “strike will continue until the withdrawal [of the government’s pension reform plans]”.
In an interview with newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, he said: “If there is a stalemate [situation], it’s because the government will have decided to do that.”
Comparisons have been drawn with the last major pension strike, in 1995, which lasted 23 days and brought the country’s transport networks to a halt, before the government conceded.
Mr Martinez said: “In 1995, at the beginning of the first march, the Prime Minister Alain Juppé said that he would never back down on his project. Things move quickly. The anger is widespread. The government should be alert.”
The CGT head believes that “there is nothing good” in the government’s plan, and has said that it would be better to “keep” the current “world’s best” system as it is, but “improve it”.
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