SNCF: The Assembly Votes by Large Margin for Reform on the 4th day of Strike

General News
The assembly has voted for the reform of the SNCF

The National Assembly voted, at first reading, the reform of the SNCF. At the same time, a fourth day of strike commences this Wednesday 18th April, 2018.

On the eve of the resumption of the strike at the SNCF, the National Assembly adopted very widely, on Tuesday at first reading, the draft railway reform law, challenged by the left and finally approved by LR after some delays.

After the adoption by 454 votes to 80, with 29 abstentions, the Minister of Transport, Elizabeth Borne, hailed “a decisive step”, challenging any “passage in force” on this reform that the executive promises to lead “after Despite the social movements.

The Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire saw on LCI a “political signal” confirming that “the split right / left is largely exceeded when there are reforms that are in the general interest”, and “a message for all those who today oppose the transformation of the SNCF. ”

On the eve of the vote, the unions had denounced a passage “in force” with this first parliamentary stage. The CGT, the first union force at the SNCF, called for a “very high level” strike Wednesday and Thursday, a new episode of mobilization during the school holidays. According to SNCF management, traffic will be very disrupted on Wednesday with a scheduled TGV on three, as well as two TER and Transiliens out of five.

After some 24 hours of debate on the text, the majority LREM-MoDem, a large majority of the LR (24 abstained) but also the elected UDI-Agir voted for, seeing in the reform “a chance for the SNCF”.

“We would have had many arguments not to vote this text, but LR deputies are never in a political stance and they have for compass that the interest of France,” said Jean-Marie Sermier (LR). “On the method, the government is wrong: the unions are focused, the strike is massive, the population is held hostage,” he denounced.

Members of the main opposition group, in favour of opening to competition, had a time reserved their vote between abstention and for. They played the equilibrists on this text, denouncing the form more, including the use of ordinances, than the substance. In tune with the party’s offensive, especially on rural life, they also hammered their worries about the future of the “small lines”, rejected by the minister.

But “when a reform, even largely insufficient is in the right direction, it is voted in the interest of the country,” told AFP Damien Abad group vice president, ensuring that the president of LR, Laurent Wauquiez , had “pushed a lot in this direction”.

“On this subject, as on the law Work where we are rather in phase, we will not plug our noses,” added a deputy LR.

With this vote of the whole right, tweeted the boss of PS Olivier Faure, “once again shows its consistency. What he would have done with or, he does with “.

“To fight foot by foot”

The left has fought to the end, in unison with the unions, including a “class aggression” with the elimination of the status of railway workers for new hires (PCF) or a “presumption of privatization” (PS).

Last week in the Chamber, Insoumis and Communists accused the government of wanting to “scalp” railway workers, and rejected any positive effect of opening to competition, presented by Élisabeth Borne as a “stimulating spur”.

The communists want to “fight foot to foot” for the law “to be withdrawn,” said Tuesday one of the spokesmen, Pierre Dharéville, saying that “the anger continues to express itself strongly”.

At the call of SUD-Rail, a hundred railway workers, joined by students, gathered at the beginning of the afternoon in front of the Ministry of Transport, where new bilateral meetings are planned.

If the ministry “continues to discuss” with the unions, oil fueled Monday the fire of the dispute. SNCF has announced that it intends to spin off its heavily-indebted SNCF Freight railroad, a “new provocation” for the CGT.

The confirmation by Emmanuel Macron Sunday of a gradual recovery of part of the debt of the SNCF by the state from 1st January 2020 has also not convinced the unions, since there is ” no firm commitment “, message converge on the left. This debt was the Arlesian debates in the Assembly.

The text will not be considered by the Senate until May 29. The ministry is hoping for a final vote “no later than early July”.

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