France to protect rail service during strikes

12th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 11, 2006 (AFP) - French Transport Minister Dominique Perben said on Wednesday that he wanted to introduce a guaranteed minimum service across the country to reduce disruption to the public during rail strikes.

PARIS, Jan 11, 2006 (AFP) - French Transport Minister Dominique Perben said on Wednesday that he wanted to introduce a guaranteed minimum service across the country to reduce disruption to the public during rail strikes.

Only the greater Paris region and eastern Alsace currently have minimum service rules in place, with rail operators obliged to keep a certain number of trains running at all times.

"I want to see this type of contractual agreement extended very rapidly across the whole of France, on urban public transport and the regional rail networks," Perben said in a New Year's address to transport leaders.

France's national rail company SNCF was hit by six strikes last year, the latest in November. The strikes were called over demands for better work conditions and fears of plans — rejected by the government — to privatise the operator.

Patrice Gandrieau, a leader of the CFDT union, said he hoped Perben would follow the example of existing minimum service agreements and not attempt to restrict workers' ability to strike.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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