Skip to main content

French rail workers strike against reform, Macron says no turning back



Striking French rail staff halted train services for the seventh day this month on Wednesday in protest over a major shake-up of the state-owned railway company, but President Emmanuel Macron said he would not be cowed into retreat.

The rolling strikes, due to continue until the end of June, entered a more testing phase for unions at the SNCF rail company a day after the lower house of parliament approved the bill they are fighting, which will end the SNCF monopoly.

Macron, confronted by protesters on a walkabout in eastern France, reiterated his determination to see the SNCF reformed, telling one detractor: “You can grumble, but do not block the whole country.”

SNCF management said about one in five staff (19.84 percent) did not work, slightly down from a 22.5 percent strike rate on April 12 and more noticeably down on a strike rate of close to 30 percent when industrial action began on April 3.

All four major unions are contesting a reform that is the biggest since nationalisation of the railways in 1937 and seen as a test of Macron’s determination to pursue a broader raft of economic and social reforms during a term that runs to 2022.

Around one in three high-speed TGV trains were running and two in five regional trains on Wednesday, while international services were down to about 75 percent of normal.

That was a slightly lower impact than at the outset of the strikes but not to a degree that suggested Tuesday’s resounding pro-reform vote in the National Assembly had broken the back of the strike.

The Communist-rooted CGT union sought to raise the heat on Macron with a strike call at the Paris subway transport company, RATP, which is not targeted by the national railway reforms.

CGT boss Philippe Martinez said no-show estimates were a bit lower than in early April but in no way suggested resistance was flagging.

Another CGT representative in the utility sector warned that his union could tamper with power supplies and cause more train delays out of solidarity with rail workers.

Hallmarks of the reform include a gradual phase-out of the SNCF’s passenger rail monopoly, starting with competition on high-speed lines in 2020, and an end to hiring of SNCF staff on more protective contracts than in other sectors.

A third strut of the reform will change the SNCF’s corporate structure to a joint-stock company. 

While the government says it will remain 100 percent state-owned, unions fear that opens the door to privatisation, as happened after similar changes at France Telecom, now called Orange.

Macron has hatched a plethora of reforms he says are needed to modernise France. 

He has loosened protective labour legislation by executive order and is looking to scale back the civil service and revamp the pension system.

The SNCF bill will now go to the Senate and the process of parliamentary approval is expected to conclude by early July.

Macron, days away from completing his first year in office, resolutely defended his broader reform push on a meet-the-people sortie in the eastern town of Saint-Die-des-Vosges, where he was mobbed by well-wishers, protesters and TV cameras.

The 40-year-old president said he would not change course and decried what he called “activists ... people who decide to be against everything”.

An Ifop poll released on Wednesday showed far more voters find him faithful to his election pledges than predecessors: 57 percent said he was doing as promised, versus 24 percent for Francois Hollande before him and 35 percent for Nicolas Sarkozy.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Armenian protesters block traffic, railways & airport as protest leader loses PM bid

Anti-government protesters disrupted traffic in Armenia’s capital, blocking railways and roads leading to Yerevan International Airport, after the parliament voted against opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan’s bid for interim PM.
Protesters managed to block streets connecting downtown Yerevan to residential districts, disrupting transportation in Armenia’s capital, footage from the scene shows. 
Yerevan’s metro system has also been paralyzed as demonstrators sit on the tracks, preventing trains from passing.
Meanwhile, protesters disrupted traffic on a road leading to Yerevan’s Zvartnots International Airport, located just 12km from the center of the city. 
Consequently, some passengers had to go the rest of the way on foot in order to catch their flights, according to Sputnik news agency.
Railway services have also been disrupted all across the country amid the demonstrations, a spokesman for South Caucasus Railways confirmed to Interfax. 
Some other highways, including the one connecting th…

Iran Killing Command: The use of firearms in dealing with protesters

The document you see on the image is the order of the commander of the Tehran repressive force to all the units based in the city.

Based on this agenda, the mercenaries of the corrupt government Islamic Republic of Iran have been allowed to use firearms in the event of any protest movement against people by the regime.
This is a murder command.
The repressive force of the law, known to the world's famous police and guardians, should protect the lives of its citizens, by freeing their mercenaries, they allow them to murder Iranians who are protesting the corruption in the government and you have the important message that if you come to the streets in protest of corruption and torture and massacre, we will kill you.
Because, according to criminal Khomeini, maintenance of the system is obligatory.
A corrupt government that is so hideous that spend billions of dollars from the national treasury and popular capitalto the suppression of its people and the countries of the region, must be ov…

ایران فرمان قتل : دستور استفاده از سلاح گرم در برخورد با معترضان

سندی که در تصویر میبینید دستور فرمانده نیروی سرکوبگر انتظامی تهران به همه یگانهای مستقر در این شهر است.
بر اساس این دستور کار ، مزدوران حکومت فاسد نظام جمهوری اسلامی اجازه یافته اند که درصورت بروز هرگونه جنبش اعتراضی از سوی مردم علیه رژیم ، از سلاح گرم استفاده کنند.
این دستور یک فرمان قتل است.
نیروی سرکوبگر انتظامی که به ظاهر و تعریف شناخته شده پلیس در سراسر جهان ، میبایست حافظ جان شهروندان باشد ، با آزاد گذاشتن دست مزدوران چکمه پوش خود انها را مجاز به قتل ایرانیان معترض به فسادهای موجود درلایه های حکومت میکنند و این پیام مهم را در خود دارد که اگر در اعتراض به  فساد و شکنجه و کشتار به خیابانها بریزید شما را خواهیم کشت.
چرا که به گفته خمینی دجال، حفظ نظام از اوجب واجبات است.
حکومت فاسدی که انقدر وقیح هست که میلیاردها دلار از خزانه ملی و سرمایه مردمی را صرف سرکوب مردم خود و کشورهای منطقه میکند باید سرنگون کرد.
اکنون چهل سال است که کشور ما به اشغال این ملایان جنایکتارخونخوار و اسلام تحمیلی در آمده است .
هنوز باورش برای برخی سخت است که درک کنند کشور ما به معنای واقعی کلمه از سوی بنیادگرایان الله…