France: SNCF strike: Management proposes “additional measures”.

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FranceSNCF strike: Management proposes “further measures”.

In order to avoid strikes on New Year’s Eve, SNCF’s management has proposed a series of additional measures.

Almost half of the controllers announced a strike this weekend, causing one in three trains to be canceled on Friday.

AFP

SNCF’s management proposed “additional measures” to regulators on Thursday evening, saying their strike would disrupt the Christmas weekend, preventing it from extending into the New Year. SNCF said in a statement that unions have until 12pm on Friday to decide on the new deal, which “will present strong additional measures to support the recognition of the leader’s career, the creation of positions and their career advancement”.

General Assembly management brought together representative unions via video conference on Thursday evening, while almost half of the controllers will go on strike this weekend, causing many Christmas train cancellations. The government put pressure on SNCF management on Thursday. This strike, however, is different: it is led by an informal group of captains organized on Facebook and rejects any union membership. The movement was made possible by notices filed by the CGT-Cheminots and SUD-Rail unions, but they did not call for a strike.

The new management plans include the creation of an “ASCT Business Line” (Board Chairman) that brings together all regulators under one umbrella, a union source told AFP. 160 additional jobs are to be created from 2023, and 40 jobs are to be created in “sensitive trains”. The specific premium for controllers will increase from 600 to 720 euros per year.

200% refund

Almost half of the controllers announced strikes this weekend, causing the cancellation of a third of trains on Friday and two out of five trains on Saturday and Sunday, particularly TGVs. Some axes will be more affected than the Atlantic axis or the Northern axis, with only one of the two TGVs. In an exceptional situation, an exceptional measure: SNCF customers started receiving emails offering a 200% refund on vouchers, whether they were able to travel or not.

A few seats on major routes were still available on Thursday evening as some passengers were cancelled. But canceled or full trains have pushed many of them to cabs or carpooling. Flixbus told AFP it would carry 115,000 passengers from Friday to Monday, 10 to 15% more than in 2019, while BlaBlaCar buses will double certain cycles on Thursdays and Fridays between Paris and several cities, including Nantes, Lyon or Rennes.

Bison Foote warned that Friday could be a troublesome day on the Ille-du-France road, advising people to leave the area before 10am, with traffic expected to peak between 3pm and 6pm. Other travelers have changed their train travel dates. “Taking leave the day before, I decided to postpone my return, telephonically”, explains Xavier, who joins Bayonne from Paris. Air France, hit by a strike call by two unions of hostesses and stewardesses until January 2, indicated that it would operate all its flights on Fridays and Saturdays for its part.

On Thursday morning, Jean-Pierre Farandou, CEO of SNCF, underlined that “we gave everything to avoid a strike”, insisting on mandatory annual negotiations, which in early December 2023 gave railway workers an average salary increase of 6%. , according to him. “And for TGV captains, we added another 1.5 points,” he underlined. “We secured employment, we guaranteed that there would be two captains per TGV, and we made commitments to the development of the industry”.

(AFP)

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