TGV buffet car staff on strike

Sixth day of strike over pay and conditions

Anyone travelling by TGV should pack snacks and drinks as buffet car staff are striking for the sixth consecutive day.

The strike over pay and conditions called by several unions began last Wednesday and a meeting between management and unions failed to break the deadlock on Friday evening.

Moses Cissoko, union delegate from CFDT, told journalists there had been no progress on staff  demands despite several hours of negotiation with Wagon-Lits bosses.

Management refused to improve on their offer of a 1% increase, while unions are demanding 1.4%. No further negotiations took place over the weekend but unions hope to have a meeting today.

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According to Mr Cissoko, 70% of employees working at Montparnasse station in Paris have joined the strike today, 63% at the Gare de Lyon, 80% in Marseille and Montpellier, and 85% in Lille. Another union, Force Ouvrière, reported that on average 60% of workers were striking across all stations.

"Apart from salary increases, employees are striking for their increasingly disastrous working conditions and an increasingly tough management style under the impetus of the new CEO who arrived in November," says Ronald Dufresne-Almendro, a union delegate from SUD-rail.

They are not currently SNCF employees but work for Newrest Wagons-Lits, a subsidiary of the French group Newrest, which specialises in air and rail catering services. It employs 1,400 people in France, according to trade unions.

"More and more is being asked of traders who work on trains without having any of the SNCF advantages," M Dufresne-Almendro added, favouring full "integration" for buffet car staff in the public railway group.

In February 2015, a previous strike, motivated by similar claims, lasted more than a week.

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