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Train services back to normal

Fortnight-long strike by SNCF drivers and conductors is over - except some minor disruptions near the Savoie ski resorts

TRAIN drivers and conductors across France have returned to work this morning following a 14-day strike.

Union members in the Rhône-Alpes and Midi-Pyrénées were among the last to call off the industrial action, which has disrupted the French rail network in the middle of the spring school holidays and the volcanic ash problem.

The SNCF is announcing a normal service on most routes today, except for one small pocket of strike action which is continuing to affect services around Chambéry in the Alps.

Representatives from each of the main rail unions held individual meetings with the Transport Minister yesterday afternoon.

Minority unions Unsa and CFDT, who were among the first to return to work last week, said there had been no progress with negotiations and the strike had not worked.

The CGT, which kept up the strike in some regions until yesterday, said there had been some progress on jobs, with 2,300 drivers due to be recruited this year instead of the 1,800 initially planned.

Further meetings have been scheduled between the SNCF and unions to discuss jobs, work conditions and the reorganisation of the company's freight division.

The SNCF lost almost €1bn last year and is making preparations for the opening up of the French rail network to international competition.

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