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Rail strike set to enter a third day

CGT union reveals that the "extendable" rail workers strike will continue into Friday

THE rail strike that has caused misery for millions of commuters in France over the past two days, will continue into Friday.

News of the extension comes after talks between the government and rail unions aimed at averting a further extension of the dispute failed this morning.

Before going into the meeting, Gilbert Garrel, secretary general of the CGT had said that the strike would continue if next week's parliamentary debate on railway reform was not delayed.

This morning, striking rail workers this morning blocked the line at Gare de Lille-Flandres as the strike that has crippled France's train network entered a second day.

BFMTV reported that no trains were able to enter or leave the station after protesters got on to the line.

The continuing dispute has meant that SNCF was only able to operate 50% of its usual TGV service today.

Eastern France has been worst-hit, with six out of 10 TGV services cancelled, while one in three trains are running in southeast France.

Three in 10 intercity services are operating, as are 50% of TER services.

More people were taking to the roads as they struggled to get into work. According to traffic monitors Sytadin, more than 360km of tailbacks were recorded at 8am in the Ile-de-France alone. A spokesman described the level of traffic as, “exceptional for this hour”.

Union leaders met transport secretary Frédéric Cuvillier last night in a bid to avert continuing action, but were unable to reach an agreement.

The two sides are due to meet again this morning to discuss rail reform proposals that are the reason for the strike.

This walkout could still be extended into a third day, while the Unsa union, which is not part of this dispute, has filed a strike notice June 17, if the current negotiations fail.

MPs are due to debate the rail reform proposals next week.

Photo: Alfenaar

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