French rail strike to hit services nationwide

1st June 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 1 (AFP) - French commuters will face major disruptions on Thursday when railway workers goes on strike to demand better pay, in the first major test for newly-appointed Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.

PARIS, June 1 (AFP) - French commuters will face major disruptions on Thursday when railway workers goes on strike to demand better pay, in the first major test for newly-appointed Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.  

Only 60 percent of high-speed TGV trains and 35 percent of trains on national lines will be in service, the state-owned SNCF said.  

Paris commuters using suburban lines could suffer the most, with between 25 and 60 percent of trains in operation.  

High-speed Eurostar trains linking Paris to London, as well as Thalys trains linking Paris to several major European cities, were expected to run on or close to schedule, the state-owned French railway insisted.  

Workers called the strike, to last from 8:00 pm Wednesday until 8:00 am Friday, to demand better pay, job creation and the protection of the country's public services.  

Villepin, who was appointed by President Jacques Chirac on Tuesday following France's rejection of the EU constitution in a weekend referendum, is tasked with bringing down the country's 10.2 percent unemployment rate.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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