The Financial Express

French rail workers call strike to defy Macron’s labour reforms

| Updated: April 04, 2018 13:08:02

French rail workers call strike to defy Macron’s labour reforms

A major strike by workers at the French state railway SNCF - including train drivers - is expected to paralyse rail travel across France.

Three months of train stoppages are set to begin on Monday evening, as trade unions push back against President Emmanuel Macron's labour reforms, reports BBC.

Le Parisien newspaper says most people will be able to get home normally after Easter weekend before the trains stop.

The waste collection, electricity and energy sectors also expect strikes.

On 22 March, tens of thousands of teachers, nurses and other workers joined rail staff on strike - a sign of widespread opposition to Mr Macron's plans for state sector liberalisation.

SNCF workers enjoy generous conditions, including automatic annual pay rises, early retirement, 28 days of paid annual leave and protection from dismissal. Their close relatives are also entitled to free rail tickets.

The Macron government wants to phase out the special SNCF contracts, proposing to put new hires on contracts like those that apply elsewhere in industry.

The aim is to open up the state railways to competition from 2023, in line with EU requirements.

SNCF is struggling with big debts.

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