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Christmas trains in France: Strike threat in east and southeast

Three unions have called for action on the network covering Dijon, Lyon, Marseille and Nice if negotiations with SNCF prove unsuccessful

If it takes place, the strike will affect trains serving Dijon, Lyon, Nice and Marseille Pic: Alex Tihonovs / Shutterstock

People travelling to Christmas breaks by train this weekend could be affected by strikes if their journey passes through eastern or southeastern France. 

Three train worker unions – CGT-Cheminots, Sud-Rail and Unsa – have called for strike action between Friday and Sunday (December 17-19), which will particularly affect trains heading southeast from Paris’ Gare de Lyon. 

This would include trains serving Dijon, Besançon, Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand, Marseille, Perpignan and Nice. 

Traffic forecasts are only published 48 hours in advance, so the level of disruption is not yet known. You can keep track of SNCF traffic alerts on its Info trafic page.

The unions are calling for higher pay for their members, arguing that the Covid pandemic has added greatly to their workload. 

“For two years we have been working in the midst of the Covid era and we have not had a Covid bonus,” said Sud-Rail union delegate Fabien Villedieu to RTL. “This dispute has transformed into anger. The pay issue does not only concern the rail network. 

“The management still has a few days to negotiate and make proposals and if they fail to take action, we will strike.”

If the unions succeed in negotiating pay rises with SNCF before Thursday (December 16), there will be no strike. If not, the action could last for several successive weekends. 

Passengers who are affected by strike action and who wish to cancel their journey can do so at station ticket desks, free of charge.

SNCF has not commented on the call for strike action.

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