Rail strikes 'unjustified', survey finds

More than half the French population do not support the SNCF strikes, despite massive backing on social media

More than half the French population do not support railway workers' 36 days of strikes, a survey has found.

A total 57% said that the walkouts, which look set to cripple the transport system over the next three months, were 'unjustified', the poll, published by franceinfo and Le Figaro on Thursday, revealed.

The figure has barely changed from a survey on March 23, when 58% of those polled said the same thing - but comes as a marked contrast to apparent support on social media, where more than 189,400 messages include the positive-leaning hashtags #jesoutienslagrèvedescheminots or #jesoutienslescheminots, compared to 4,500 that feature anti-strike hashtags #stopgreve, #arretgreve, #jenesoutienspaslescheminots or #jenesoutienspaslesgrevistes.

Just over half of those surveyed (51%) said the government must do everything possible to avoid this strike, even if this means giving up certain areas of its planned reform of SNCF, compared to 48% who believe the government should stand firm in the face of the protests.

Moreover, one third (33%) say their work or holiday plans have been directly affected by the strike. That figure rises to 49% for 18-24 year olds and 43% for people living in Ile-de-France.

Meanwhile, 59% are concerned that the strike could lead France to a general strike, similar to the one that crippled the country in December 1995.

A representative sample of 1,013 people took part in the online survey carried out by Odoxa-Dentsu Consulting.

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