The end for the united strike at the SNCF: Unsa decided on Tuesday, 19th June to leave the strike movement after the 28th June, leaving the unions CGT and SUD isolated.
The end of the united union strike action at the SNCF. Unsa decided on Tuesday 19th June, 2018 to leave the movement after June 28th, refusing to continue with the strike action in July and the challenge of railway reform as the CGT and SUD wish.
“The Unsa union will not continue the strike in July” but “will stay” in the mobilization “until the 28th June, in accordance with its inter-union commitment,” told AFP Secretary General Roger Dillenseger, who “s’ will explain “in front of its partners at a meeting scheduled from 6pm on Tuesday.
June 28th will be the 36th and final day of the two-day-in-five episode mobilization schedule launched on the 3rd April.
At Unsa, “we remain combative in defense of a new social railway pact,” said Dillenseger, referring to the upcoming negotiations on the national collective agreement (NCC) of the railway branch and those within the SNCF. “We will mobilize wisely,” added the head of the second union of the SNCF, which represents mainly managers and supervisors.
“We lost a maximum but the battle is not over”
With the rail reform of the government, “we have lost a maximum but the battle is not over (…) We want to give future prospects to rail and employees,” insisted Mr. Dillenseger. And because of “very strong concerns about the ending of freight” (freight transport), his union “does not rule out different decisions” in terms of strike “at the regional level, depending on the local context”.
The CGT Cheminots, which had “proposed” last week to strike “July 2nd, 6th and 7th” but will “change a little” this proposal Tuesday night, refused to comment on the decision of Unsa.
SUD-Rail, which wants “targeted strike dates” this summer to “revitalize the movement,” sees Unsa’s decision to “let go of the thousands of strikers now, while determination is still important on the ground, is akin to betrayal.
Fractured union unity
As for the CFDT Cheminots, it submitted Tuesday the continuation or not of the strike to its national council. This meeting “will last all day” and the decision should be announced “rather” after the meeting inter-union, said AFP Sébastien Mariani, deputy secretary general of the fourth union of the SNCF, which says represent 30% of train drivers.
By announcing the first departure of the movement, Unsa broke the already fragile edifice of the union unit at SNCF and broke with the unitary discipline it had hitherto observed.
In early June, to preserve “the strength of union unity”, it had complied with the refusal of her partners to follow the proposal to lift calls to strike during the baccalaureate. Already in May, despite its skepticism, had teamed up with the vote’action to maintain union unity ‘.
Unsa then strongly criticized the CFDT Cheminots single-handed breakaway, which last week decided to suspend the strike on the TER and RER lines during the written tests of the examinations. And last Friday, it described as “disrespectful” for other organizations the CGT Cheminots’ solo decision to continue the strike in July.
From now on, Unsa “will adapt its mobilization to the schedule of negotiations of the NCC and the SNCF,” explained Mr. Dillenseger. Currently, there is “no firm timetable” for negotiations on the NCC with the UTP (Union of Public and Rail Transport, Employers). And at SNCF, the next step will be a meeting on June 28th for mandatory annual negotiations.
On the ground, many demonstrations were still organized in recent days in Paris and the regions, but the mobilization of the railroads was eroded over the course of the strike episodes. Monday, it fell to its lowest level, with 10.80% of strikers. To compare at the highest level, 33.9% of strikers, the first day of the movement.