home General News Strike at the SNCF: Black Tuesday in Sight, Which Trains will Circulate

Strike at the SNCF: Black Tuesday in Sight, Which Trains will Circulate

This Tuesday begins the strike at the SNCF, scheduled to last three months. Traffic will be very disrupted and up to 77% of drivers will not go to work. The forecasts.

After the warning shot of the 22nd March, place in the fight. With an average TGV on eight Tuesday, railway workers set the tone of this long-distance strike to counter the reform project of the SNCF.

Among the personnel required to declare themselves 48 hours before the strike, the SNCF has registered nearly one out of every two railway workers (48% compared to 35.4% on March 22nd) and up to more than three out of four among drivers ( 77%).

Traffic will be “very disturbed”, warned the management of the SNCF.

One TGV out of 10 on the South-East axis

On the main lines, the SNCF forecasts an average of one TGV in eight , the South-East axis being the most impacted (one out of 10). Same for the Intercity, even seven lines will not outright unserved . SNCF boss Guillaume Pepy warned that lines would be “closed”.



In the regions, one TER and one in five Transilien are announced . In Ile-de-France, RER traffic will be variable along the axes, ranging from one train out of two to one in five. Some branches will not be served.

The move will be combined in the air with the fourth day of strike at Air France for wages, before a fifth Saturday, and 10 and 11 April. The company plans to provide 75% of the flights.

The four representative unions at SNCF (CGT, Unsa, SUD, CFDT) stand up against the rail reform project, which “aims to destroy the rail public service by pure ideological dogmatism,” according to them.

The strike at the SNCF
The strike at the SNCF (© AFP / Vincent LEFAI)

“Negotiations on the merits”

The remonstrances of Mr. Pepy or the Minister of Transport Elisabeth Borne, lambasting a strike “staggered” or “incomprehensible” in view of the “consultation” engaged, will have done nothing. Nor the announcement of the legislative route for the opening of the rail to the competition, instead of the orders initially envisaged.

Despite different modalities, CGT, Unsa, SUD and CFDT are all launched in the battle: a strike by episode of two days out of five until June 28 for CGT, Unsa and CFDT; an indefinite strike renewable by 24 hours for SUD-Rail.

Abolition of hiring at the SNCF status, opening to competition or the transformation of the SNCF into a public limited company, the beginnings of a future privatization for the unions, are all scarecrows in their eyes.

They also believe that the reform “will not settle the subject of debt (46.6 billion euros at the end of 2017 for SNCF Réseau, ed), nor that of malfunctions”.

Twelve leftist parties, including France insubordinate, the PCF or Génération.s, have given them their support against “the breakage of the SNCF”, prefiguring according to them that of all the public service.

Opposite, the government intends to hold on, seeing in this strike a “blocking posture (…) not justified”, as Elisabeth Borne said.

Calendar of SNCF strike days
Calendar of SNCF strike days (© AFP / Maryam EL HAMOUCHI)

“Between 10 and 20 million a day”

But for the CGT, the first union force of the company, “the government and management would be better inspired to open negotiations on the merits”. In Le Parisien, the number one CGT Cheminots Laurent Brun accuses the management of the SNCF to seek “the confrontation between strikers and non-strikers”.

In Le Figaro, Laurent Berger, general secretary of the CFDT, also called for discussion. “The sooner we discuss with the executive, the more likely we are to avoid a hard conflict that I do not want,” he said.

“Negotiations continue”, with “a dozen meetings” scheduled this week, insisted Monday on Europe 1 Mathias Vicherat, deputy general manager of the SNCF.

For his part, Alain Krakovitch, general manager of Transilien, said on BFMTV that the strike would cost “between 10 and 20 million per day”.

For the press, Emmanuel Macron and the government “play very big” in front of this “first social bone” of the quinquennium. “The war of attrition” is declared, canned titles Le Parisien and Le Figaro.

Especially since the social storm will not stop at rail and Air France Tuesday. In addition to student discontent, the CGT calls for a strike in the entire waste sector (public and private) and has also filed a notice in the energy sector.

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