SNCF strike: Christmas departures disrupted, New Year canceled

Although many passengers will remain on the platform this Friday and throughout the Christmas weekend, SNCF has made new plans to prevent the controllers’ strike from continuing into the New Year.

During a meeting with unions on Thursday evening, the group’s management “proposed strong additional measures to recognize the leader’s career, create positions and support their career advancement,” SNCF said in a statement.

Unions have until 12:00 noon on Friday to decide on the new contract.

Almost half of the controllers will go on strike this weekend, causing the cancellation of a third of trains on Friday and two-fifths of 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.

However, this strike is different: it is led by a group of informal leaders organized on Facebook and rejects any union membership.

This situation makes the representatives uncomfortable: the CGT-Cheminots and SUD-Rail unions have filed a notice of union but not a strike call.

200% refund

The new management plans include the creation of an ‘ASCT business line’ (chair of the board) that brings together all regulators under one umbrella, a union source told AFP.

In total, 160 additional jobs are to be created from 2023, and 40 additional jobs are to be created in ‘sensitive trains’. The specific premium for controllers will increase from 600 to 720 euros per year.

The government put pressure on SNCF on Thursday, asking regulators to end the strike, which could result in fines for around 200,000 holidaymakers.

Government spokesman Olivier Véran asked the strikers to ‘listen to the legitimate demand of the French to see their families in good condition’.

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.

Between transfers and cancellations, there are still some seats available on major routes on Thursday evening.

But canceled or full trains have prompted many commuters to turn to coaches, carpooling or simply their car.

Buses and Plugs

Flixbus told AFP it would carry 115,000 passengers from Friday to Monday, 10 to 15% more than in 2019.

‘I wanted to take the train to Orleans but it was too expensive. I hesitated to take a Blablacar, but it was the same price as the bus, so I booked a bus, explained to AFP Valentine, and crossed at the Bordeaux bus station on Thursday.

Car rental company Ucar has decided to surf the strike to deliver its cars over the weekend at the price of a canceled ticket.

According to Bison Fut, the day on Friday could already be complicated on the road in Ile-de-France: the road information service advises to leave the area before 10:00 a.m. The peak of traffic jams is expected between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. .

Getting around Thursday evening in Île-de-France was already complicated, with traffic jams of almost 500 kilometers of exceptional magnitude measured in the region at 6 p.m.

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.

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