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Thursday, 24 October 2019

France to be hit by another rail strike on Tuesday

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-france-unions-macron/after-months-of-strikes-frances-macron-looks-to-break-rail-unions-idUKKBN1J719I

AFP , Sunday 22 Sep 2019
Paris
FILE PHOTO: Empty platforms are pictured at Gare de l'Est train station during a nationwide strike by French SNCF railway workers in Paris, France, April 4, 2018. REUTERS
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France will be hit by another train strike this week over a looming pension system overhaul after Paris saw its biggest strike action in more than a decade earlier this month, national railway operator SNCF said Sunday.

Just two out of five of SNCF's intercity services will be running during the strike on Tuesday, along with three of five regional TER lines, the operator said, adding that high-speed TGV services would be a "little disturbed".

Service on the main commuter RER trains in the Paris region will be slowed, but the city's transit operator RATP said the metro lines that ground to a halt during the mass strike on September 13 will be working "almost as normal".

International rail, including the heavily used Eurostar lines, will be unaffected.

The September 13 strike was the first major protest against President Emmanuel Macron's plan to implement a universal pension system that would do away with the more advantageous plans enjoyed by workers in state transport and utility companies.

Metro workers say the reforms would force them to work longer by removing their long-held rights to early retirement, secured decades ago to compensate for spending long hours underground.

France's state auditor, the Cour des Comptes, has said the average retirement age for RATP workers in 2017 was 55.7, compared with 63 years for most French workers.

"We have to tell the French the truth... We are going to have to work longer," Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said during the metro strike -- the biggest since 2007 when former president Nicolas Sarkozy also pushed through pension reforms.

The head of CGT union, one of the unions that called for Tuesday's action, said the previous strike was not "by the privileged few".

"It's a strike by employees saying 'We want to retire at a reasonable age with a reasonable pension'," said CGT head Philippe Martinez.

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