Back on schedule: French trains running normally

24th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 24 (AFP) - Trains were running normally across France on Thursday after striking staff accepted a package of incentives from the state rail company and returned to work.

PARIS, Nov 24 (AFP) - Trains were running normally across France on Thursday after striking staff accepted a package of incentives from the state rail company and returned to work.

The rail operator SNCF said that traffic was back to normal across the Paris region and the provinces, with only minor disruptions reported in part of the northeastern Champagne-Ardennes region.

The Paris metro network was also operating normally, despite a separate strike call by two unions.

A nationwide rail strike was launched Monday over union fears of privatisation of the SNCF, badly disrupting domestic and international services, but fizzled out following successful talks between unions and the rail company.

To avert a drawn-out labour conflict, the SNCF offered staff a set of incentives to return to work, including a 120-euro bonus, a salary increase and the hiring of 950 new staff.

Rail employees across the country voted on Wednesday to return to work, swayed by the management offer and demoralised by the low participation in the strike, which was followed by between 23 and 30 percent of staff -- though that included many train drivers.

Both the SNCF and the government strongly deny any plans to privatise the company, and president Jacques Chirac, in a rare intervention, stepped in to promise rail workers that it would remain in public hands.

SNCF chairman Louis Gallois told France 2 television on Thursday that the labour action had cost between EUR 20 and 30 million, revising downwards an earlier estimate of EUR 45 million.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article