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Rail unions vote to extend strike

STRIKE UPDATE: More travel woe in store railway workers decide to continue walkout into Thursday

THE RAILWAY workers strike that has crippled SNCF services is set to continue into tomorrow.

Following a meeting at 11am today, two of the four unions involved in the 24-hour walkout - the CGT and SUD-Rail - reportedly said that the strike would be extended for another day.

CGT national spokesman Thierry Nier said: “All general meetings voted overwhelmingly for renewal.”

He dismissed SNCF claims that the strike was supported by less than 30% of workers, saying that SNCF would be able to operate a much improved service with 70% of staff.

The news will come as a further blow to commuters who struggled into work this morning amid a perfect storm of the rail walkout and a taxi drivers’ protest against the rise of minicab firms.

This morning, commuters battled their way into work in the face of a go-slow protest by taxi drivers, angry at what they see as “unfair competition” from minicab firms.

Hundreds of taxis led go-slow operations in several key areas of France, including in the vicinity of Orly and Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, the Saint-Charles railway station and Marseille-Provence airport in the Bouches-du-Rhône. In Alpes-Maritimes, taxi drivers staged a go-slow between the airport at Nice and Menton.

Up to 320km of tailbacks were reported on routes in the Ile-de-France alone shortly after 8am, but Le Parisien reported that traffic was flowing freely again on the Peripherique by 10.30am.

Later, however, it was reported that traffic was building in the capital’s northern outer ring road, as tailbacks from the go-slow from Roissy developed.

SNCF has established hotlines (0805 90 36 35 for mainline, 0805 70 08 05 for Ile-de-France) for travellers to check whether their trains are running.

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