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Travellers face strike disruption

Taxis and rail workers take action tomorrow while air controllers will hit summer holiday flights

TRAVELLERS could be hit by a strike by taxi drivers and rail workers tomorrow – and an air controllers strike has been called for July 2-3.

Taxi drivers have called strikes in several large towns and cities in protest at competition from services such as Uber and, especially, UberPop, where ordinary drivers offer space in their vehicles for a fee.

They say they will target and blockade certain areas such as airports and railway stations rather than organising rolling convoys to slow traffic on main roads.

Tension has been mounting all week against illegal and unfair competition from UberPop services and action is planned in Paris, Toulouse, Marseille, Lyon, Nice, Strasbourg, Lille and Pau.

Earlier this week five taxi drivers in Nice were arrested after they hired an UberPop driver and then attacked him and his car. There have been similar stories of attacks elsewhere in France, with an Uber passenger beaten up in Lyon after commenting on a taxi driver’s refusal to drive him.

On the railways, union CGT-Cheminots has called tomorrow’s strike in protest at plans to reform the industry which they fear will hit pay and jobs. It is also attacking SNCF’s payment of a €200m dividend to the government, which it said could have been invested to improve services and protect jobs.

The strike is due to start this evening from 19.00 but will have little effect on TGV services and the impact on local TER services will vary between regions. An SNCF spokesman said the effect would be very localised.

In Paris, only RER Ligne B from Paris Charles-de-Gaulle and Ligne P to the east of the city are giving details of problems. Ligne B will have four trains out of five at peak times and three out of four at other times, while Ligne P will have three out of four trains.

Air controllers from the SNCTA union, the leading union, have called the strike early next month, at the start of the summer holidays. At the last strike, in April, the civil aviation authority DGAC asked airlines to cut 40% of flights but it is too early to say how, or if, the strike call is heeded.
Taxi sign photo: Riggwelter

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