SNCF strikers down 7% on 29th day of protests

Protest beats previous longest-ever SNCF strike, which lasted 28 days from December 1986 into January 1987

The number of railway workers in France on strike in the longest-ever continuous SNCF protest has fallen to its lowest level since the dispute began on December 5.

The number of SNCF workers striking in protest against the government's planned pension reforms for a 29th day on Thursday had dropped nearly 7% compared to the previous day.

Just over a third of drivers (33.9%) were on strike, along with nearly one in five ticket inspectors (18.2%) and on in 10 signal workers (10.5%), according to SNCF's figures based on "an actual count of those present or absent who have to work in each of the 400 establishments or units throughout France".

The strike has, however, broken the record of 1986-87, when railway workers had mobilised in a protest over pay and conditions from 18 December 1986 to 14 January 1987, or 28 days without a Christmas break.

Despite the decline in numbers, however, unions insist that the protests will continue ahead of talks with the government, which are set to resume on Tuesday, January 7.

Another day of mass protests is planned for Thursday, January 9, when hospital workers, teachers and other public sector workers are set to join the railway workers' protests.

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