Simultaneous strikes at SNCF and at Air France, numerous disturbances

Ⓒ AFP – Christophe SIMON – | Employees of the SNCF march on an empty platform Montparnasse station on April 23, 2018 in Paris at the beginning of a new two-day strike against the reform of the company

At the SNCF as at Air France, the social conflict continues with two new days of strike, Monday and Tuesday. The strong mobilization expected of the train drivers still causes disturbances, even if Guillaume Pepy evoked an erosion of the strike.

For the first time, the strikes by episodes conducted for several weeks at Air France and SNCF fall on the same dates two days in a row.

On track, the fifth episode of the dotted conflict launched in early April also promises to follow the fourth, with three Transilien and TER out of seven in circulation Monday, two TGV in five and three Intercity out of ten, according to the SNCF forecast .

In the Paris region, the RERs are strongly affected with, on average, between one train out of two (lines A and B) and one out of three (C, D and E) in circulation.

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – – | Rail traffic forecasts

“The traffic will improve,” said yet Sunday the boss of the SNCF, Guillaume Pepy, facing the Grand Jury RTL / Le Figaro / LCI.

As for the number of strikers, there are always “four railroaders out of five at work”, according to him. But “those who drive the trains are on strike at 60%”, or “much less than at the beginning of the strike”. For the boss of SNCF, “the strike is slowly eroding”.

But these figures are disputed by the unions. The CGT-Cheminots de Marseille, for example, referred to a “manipulation” of the leader who counts the alternative cars as trains.

“We are close to 80% (of strikers) in drivers, the 60% in mechanics, or 50% overall.This does not weaken at all,” said a SUD-rail activist, interviewed Monday by AFP in Toulouse-Matabiau station.

On site, only one TGV and three Intercités were posted for the whole day, almost all other trains being either removed or replaced by coaches.

– Free tolls –

In this context, the President of the Republic repeated that he would not amend his project of railway reform (end of the hiring status, transformation of the SNCF into a public company …).

From the United States, Emmanuel Macron said he had “no choice” but to continue on this path. “If I stop, how can I modernize the country and anticipate the future?”, He said in an interview in English on Fox News broadcast Sunday.

The railwaymen do not intend to surrender.

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – Philippe LOPEZ – | An employee of the SNCF Saint-Lazare passenger assistance service in Paris on 9 April 2018

In the Gironde, they conducted Monday morning a “toll free” operation on the A62 motorway at the toll of Saint-Selve, leaving Bordeaux in the direction of Toulouse, “to explain their struggle.”

In the morning, a similar operation was planned on the A2 at Hordain (North), south of Valenciennes. “We are trying to find other forms of action, since the government remains deaf to the withdrawal of the reform,” said Marc Lambert of SUD-Rail.

In the stations, the users questioned Monday morning by AFP oscillated between annoyance and unsuccessful.

“It’s extremely complicated to organize,” a 36-year-old Belgian, Gael, who was in Aix-en-Provence three times a week, was bitching from the Part-Dieu train station in Lyon. “I am against the strike in principle, there are other methods”.

In Bordeaux, Dominique and Ines did not panic despite the cancellation of their train to Bayonne. “At worst, a friend can take us by car.”

In the air, the traffic also remained disrupted Monday because of the tenth day of strike for wages to Air France, which was to ground one in four aircraft.

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – Philippe LOPEZ – | Employees on Air France strike on 11 April 2018 in front of the company’s headquarters at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport

In detail, the company expects 65% of long-haul flights maintained, an identical rate for medium-haul from and to Roissy, and 85% for short-haul in Orly and regions.

To get out of a dispute that cost “around 300 million euros”, Monday and Tuesday included, Air France management has proposed a general increase in wages of 2%, and an additional 5% over three years.

The eleven unions calling for a strike having refused, the CEO of Air France-KLM, Jean-Marc Janaillac, decided to submit the draft agreement to consultation of all employees.

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