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Author Topic: Hier Ouigo Guesnes  (Read 330 times)
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« on: December 01, 2019, 03:29:08 pm »

Hier Ouigo Guesnes*! But not this month.

Yes there's another big rail strike in France, but a bit different from last time. The issues are both seen as existential by the unions, linked to their state-sector employee status. Last time the government won on the principle that new employees would not get the security for life of state employees, and compromised away most of the rest of their proposal. This time it's the cheminots' "special" pension scheme that they want to end.

This time there isn't a complicated schedule of strike days announced well in advance, but instead the period initially notified (5-8 December) is short but declared as "reconductible" - meaning, I think, indefinite. The idea is to notify a new strike to follow on, as late as possible (they are talking about each single day). On RATP an unlimited strike has already been declared - I suspect other cities will be hit too, though the main media don't show much interest in outside Paris.

The other main difference is that all the main unions, including CFDT (most staff not on trains), are taking part at this level - in the past they have accepted the need for some pensions reform. And one news item I saw said that the very small group of non-union drivers was smaller now - down from well over 200 to under 150. (These are generally driver-managers or -trainers.) Not that even the larger number is much use over the whole network, of course.

Info is very limited so far (SNCF but no page in English, Eurostar) - but basically it says if you are thinking of going to or through France by train - don't.

*Not really, of course, Guesnes is a tiny village - but it does have a station 3 km away. Not on a chemin de fer, these days it's a chemin de terre (literally).
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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2019, 07:46:53 pm »

Day 1 - and surreal pictures on TV of empty trains (how unlike SWR...). A case of camera crews outnumbering real passengers.

Of course for one or two days it's possible to stay at home, and given most public services (and a lot of schools in particular) are affected many will prefer to. Plus for less routine travel, e.g. to meetings, some will have been shifted earlier. In fact, at 56% of all staff and 86% of drivers on strike, the published figures for SNCF are a bit lower than a lot of the predictions (also 73% of guards and 57% of signallers). Will people will be trying to travel in larger numbers next week? I guess that (and a lot else) depends on how long the strike lasts.
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